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


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 40-60 Minutes

When I walk past a bakery or into someone's kitchen just as fresh baked goods are being pulled out of the oven, the aroma is usually one of those things that I really find hard to resist. Breads, cakes, pies - they all have that "Grandma's Place" scent...the yeast or the sugar, whatever it is just triggers a reaction not unlike poor Pavlov's dog with the ring of a bell. I suppose baked treats are my "bell" of sorts. One of them anyway. ;o)

My Dad loves bananna flavoured treats, as does my husband, so I took some overripened banannas that were destined for the bin if not rescued soon, and decided to give them one last chance for resurrection into something suitable for human consumption.

I gathered up my brown banannas and a bag of walnuts and decided these were to become a lovely loaf of bananna nut bread - American style. My hubby usually says he will make a bananna cake when our banannas get past their "use by" dates, but I have only had it once. I will never forget how the first one he made enveloped the house in a lovely aroma, then he covered it in a lovely chocolatey icing...and proceeded to wrap it up for his barber!!! WHAT??? Yep, that's right, he had promised the shop he would bring in his "famous bananna cake", so I didn't even get to sample any for nearly another two years! Needless to say, I married him anyway (hehe) and I try to beat him to the punch these days! Hehe... ;o)

Anyway, this recipe is from a very old McCall's cookbook that my friend's father gave me as a wedding present many moons ago. I still cherish it (and reference it often) today!


1 & 1/2 Cups Sifted Flour
2/3 Cup Sugar
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Butter or Margerine
1 Cup Mashed Very Ripe Banannas (approximately 2-4, more or less)
(QUICK TIP: to quickly ripen for cakes & breads, freeze then thaw them)
2 Eggs
1/2 - 2/3 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/4 Cup Raisins (optional - I opt to leave 'em out)


Preheat oven to 350 F (180-190 C) and grease or spray cooking oil into a standard loaf pan (or muffin tin - lined or not).

Sift all dry ingredients (first 5 listed) into a large bowl and cut in butter or margerine with two knives (or a pastry blender) until it resembles a consistency like breadcrumbs and there are no large lumps.

Now add bananna and eggs and, with an electric mixer on low, combine for 1-2 minutes then add nuts & raisins and combine well.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-60 minutes (start checking at 25 minutes for muffins). Begin checking loaf at 40-45 minutes and remove from oven once a tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the pan and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

It is suggested to then wrap the loaf in plastic, then in foil and store overnight before serving. I assume that it enhances the bananna flavour and keeps the loaf moist.

This recipe makes one standard loaf.


Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Okay, there are some days when I have very little time to try and come up with a "culinary masterpiece" or "gastronomic bliss" after rushing to school for pick up, then off to ballet, piano or swimming only to notice that we are arriving back at home-sweet-home at nearly the same time hubby arrives home exhausted and nutrition-deprived from a hard ay at work, where I imagine most of his nutritious lunch kilojoules (or calories) were obliterated by copious amounts of caffeine from coffee, tea, or his Achilles heel - chocolate.

These are the nights when I try to come up with something that tastes good but doesn't take an hour or more to prepare. I also strive to keep it healthy and offer some form of vegetable, starch and protein...so here's a good one I came up with. It also happens to be the only rice preparation I can usually get my daughter to eat.


1 Cup Basmati Rice (yes, it actually tastes better than the cheap stuff)
2 Cups Cold Water
2 Tsp Salt
1 Diced Onion
1 Lb (approx 400-500 Gm) Diced Meat of your choice
(This could be chicken, beef, pork, ham, whatever - leftovers are good here too)
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
2 Tbsp Asian Rice Wine
3 Cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables (Peas, Corn & Carrot or even Green Beans will do in a pinch)
1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts


Rinse rice and place in a saucepan with cold water and salt. Bring to a boil then lower heat to simmer approximately 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed completely. Remove from heat.

Whilst rice is cooking, in separate large chef's pan or wok, heat the sesame oil and cook onion about 2 minutes on medium heat, just until it begins to go transparent.

Now add meat, soy sauce, garlic and wine and either cook until all previously cooked meat is sufficiently hot or until raw meat is starts to brown.

Once meat is cooked well, add in the frozen veggies and chestnuts to warm up.

Once rice has cooked thoroughly, add it to the meat & veg pan and mix everything together well. Cover this pan and leave to steam/simmer for 10 minutes and it's dinnertime! Remember to check seasoning and add more soy sauce if needed.

One other variation I make, includes beating an egg with soy sauce & garlic and scrambling it into the rice at the end. I sometimes also top this one off with baby corn and chopped green onions (spring onions to those in the southern hemisphere).


Prep Time: Approx 10 Minutes
Cook Time: Approx 15 Minutes

I was never much of a seafood lover before I arrived here. The few sea-faring items that I would eat, all basically lived in shells at some point. This would mean lobster (in New Zealand these are a claw-less variety and the locals refer to them as crayfish), prawns (only the ones large enough to be deveined before I bought them), fresh crab, scallops (minus the horrible orange roe that Kiwis seem to love and Americans throw away or use for stock), and fresh clams.

You see, even living in the grand Pacific Northwest region of America, I never learned to appreciate the plethora of fresh trout or salmon always on offer much. Even if it was caught fresh that day just off the coast or in one of our very own rivers, I wasn't interested. No, the only scaly fish I would eat were tuna or halibut, pretty much. I think it's the aroma that always put me off really...that, and watching my Dad devein shrimp in Texas when I was a kid...yyyuck! Once I knew what it really was that he was removing, that was it!!! No "shrimp" for me for another 10 years or so - honestly! As for the finny fish, it was probably not helpful to see my lovely late grandma baking trout and serving it to us without removing the heads either. (I still shudder at the memories of it all.)

Now I live on the other side of the world and there are so many new things to try. We have local Farmers' Markets that sell incredible fruits & veggies as well as fresh fish - right off the boat! So, my point is that I have learned to appreciate some of the new seafood available to me here (even the Aussie Moreton Bay Bugs - grilled with creamy garlic sauce over the top).

Anyway, I digress...this recipe is one of my favourites now. I love prawns and this is another recipe I used to make quite often even whilst I was counting Weight Watcher points. Again, portion control is the name of the game, but it's up to you to decide how important it is to you once you've tried this recipe. My apologies on the photos this time, my light source was....uhm, compromised. :o)


1 Tbsp Olive Oil
400-500 Gm (1 Lb) Raw Prawns (tail-off, deveined)
2-3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (lite/lowfat versions are just as tasty)
2-3 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Basil
2 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Parsley
4-5 Tbsp Freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano or Romano Cheese

(Rice or pasta of your choosing. I use either Basmati Rice or Tricolore Spaghetti, but Fettucini works nicely too.)


Prepare approximately 4-5 servings of rice or pasta ahead of time, as the prawns only need a few minutes of actual cooking time.

Heat oil over medium heat and add prawns when the oil is hot. Cook for 2-3 minutes making sure that all of the prawns are turning pink.

Now reduce the heat and add your garlic. Cooking garlic for too long or at a temperature too high will burn the garlic and lend a bitter taste, so be careful not to overcook or brown it.

About a minute or two after adding the garlic, add the sour cream and cook until the sauce begins to thicken.

At this stage, add the basil and parsley then give it a good stir through.

Remove from heat and serve the prawns over the rice or pasta and a healthy veg, and top it off with the freshly grated cheese.

If you care anything for your food, please refrain from buying the American-style canisters of parmesan cheese...it only takes 30 seconds to grate it yourself and it tastes HEAPS better!

There you go - a really quick & easy meal that leaves you licking your fork at the end!



For those stateside who have never seen a kumara, nevermind actually tasting one, I will attempt to describe them the best I can. Here's a photo of purple, gold, and orange ones for you:

First of all, they come in several varieties; orange, purple, yellow (or golden), etc.... They are easy to peel (like potatoes) but tougher to cut up than a potato. When they are cooked, they end up very much like an American sweet potato or, in the case of the orange ones, American yams.

My first suggestion, is to roast them but please...don't cover them in brown sugar and marshmallow like their poor American cousins. No, these are best when savoury, roasted with a bit of salt, pepper and even a touch of garlic. They are also quite tasty prepared like mashed potatoes with butter and used as a casserole topping (Cottage or Shepherd's Pies, for example).

The New Zealand yam looks like this:

Yams are a completely different veg. This is very small in comparison to their other root vegetable cousins (obviously) as they are only 2-4 inches long normally - although I am sure the Aussies out there will boast that theirs are bigger. Hehe... They also come in different varieties (and colours) so I usually get a couple of different kids then cook them together.

Those pictured above are red and "apricot" yams, but they also come in yellow & pink - go figure!

Kiwi yams are a wonderfully unique veg as they seem to look like a potato, chop like radishes or carrots, and cook up like turnips. They don't really offer much flavour alone per se, and they cook alot quicker than potatoes and carrots, but are very healthy and a good source of fibre and vitamins. I often roast them with meat in the oven and they are superb in homemade soups as they tend to completely dissolve into the stock. Yum!

I just thought it was time for a little Kiwi cuisine education for those of you who like to try something new once in awhile. Personally, I am really enjoying the variety of produce on offer here and have found some lovely new Kiwi and Aussie recipes I will try to share as I continue developing my site here.

As for you, Kev (Koshi)...I think I will leave out the Platypus Pie, Wombat Waffles, Roo Stew, Goanna Gulash, and Crocodile Crepes if you don't mind. The Red Back Beer might be good for an upcoming Beer Bread and/or Casserole though.

Cheers, mate!


Prep Time: Approx 15 Minutes
Cook Time: Approx 90 Minutes

In my mind, there are two truly perfect foods in this world...potatoes and cheese. Together they are even more perfect, if that is at all possible. Unfortunately, both should be limited in one's diet, unless you have a super metabolism (I do not). So, this recipe is one of my family's favourites and, believe it or not, I got the basic idea from a Weight Watcher's Cookbook. Now, keep in mind that the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig'ers of this world are all for flavour - but emphasize portion control.

What's that mean??? Well, it means that if you want to follow a sensible weight loss plan, these are fine IN MODERATION, but if you have more than two of these baked delights, your scales are not likely to be kind to you the next morning. My point - this is not necessarily a "diet" recipe...it all depends on how responsible you are in eating it. (I don't think this one would get the heart tick approval rating unless you used lowfat cheese and/or sour cream, but I have made them various ways and they are all good!)


4 Large Potatoes (200 Gm or roughly 1/4 Lb each), washed & dried
2 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Med Onion, finely chopped
50 Gm Mushrooms, chopped (about 10 Button or Swiss Brown)
250 Gm Extra Lean Beef Mince (hamburger meat)
2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Large Carrot, grated (about a cup)
3-4 Med Tomatoes, diced (or one can chopped of tomatoes)
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/2-1 Cup Colby Cheese, grated
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper to Taste


Preheat the oven to about 200 C (375-400 F). Prick each potato several times with a fork, then coat with olive oil and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt then bake for 1 hour or until tender.

Once potatoes are tender, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for easy handling, then cut each potato in half and scoop out the flesh into a bowl leaving about a centimetre thick shell.

Spray the shells lightly with oil and bake for another 15 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Meanwhile, brown the onion and mushrooms in oil and add the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, meat and carrot. Once the meat is fairly well cooked, add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes or until liquid reduces and begins to thicken. Season with salt & pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now, prepare the topping by adding the sour cream, cheese & butter to the potato flesh and mash until smooth & creamy.

Spoon meat mixture into potato shells and top each with mashed potato mixure.

Finally, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. I actually cheat by this step because the cooking aromas are getting to me and I turn the oven on high and put them under the grill. This browns them faster (in my opinion) and, they are still hot inside anyway from the previous steps.

Serve these with steamed broccoli or any other favourite veg of your choice. These make excellent lunches the following day too...if there are any leftovers.

It's a bit time consuming, but really worth it in the end. Enjoy!


I started making this delicious soup about a year or so ago. I adapted this one from a very basic recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook, of all places. This version makes 6-8 servings, but I usually double it so I can jar some for future lunches & dinners. It lasts in the fridge about a month and in the freezer about 6 months. I have never had any of it go off and it's never lasted any longer than the above recommendations, so it may even freeze longer - I just don't know firsthand.

This is very similar to an Indian Dahl which is a curried lentil and tomato-based stew/soup. To make a Dahl you basically add curry paste, and coconut cream to this recipe.

For a hearty meal, a bowlful of this with a homemeade dinner roll can't really be beat. It's great for cold winter nights for certain.


1 Tbsp Oil
2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
1 Chopped Onion
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Ground Coriander Seed
1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Coriander (or 2 Tbsp Dried Corander Flakes)
3/4 Cup Rinsed & Drained Lentils (red lentils are what I use)
4 Diced Tomatoes (or a 400 gm can of chopped tomatoes)
2 Cups Fresh Spinach
2 Celery Stalks (optional)
2 Shredded (or Diced) Carrots
3 Cups Stock (I use Beef Stock, but Vegetable Stock would make this 100% vegetarian)


Heat the oil in stock pot and fry onions until transparent, then add in the garlic and spices and stir those together and let cook 1-2 minutes on med-low heat.

Now add the lentils, remaining veggies, lentils, and stock and increase heat to medium until soup boils.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are very soft, stirring occasionally.

Serve this soup with a dollop of yoghurt (thick unflavoured Greek style) or sour cream and lemon wedges. I also make homemade dinner rolls to have with the soup. Another lovely option is garlic bread. Mmmmm....


I love these rolls with soup or as sandwich bread for a light lunch. My daughter and husband love my buns too... ;o)

I used a basic breadmaker recipe (but work the dough manually, again, because the breadmaker sometimes misses some of the dry ingredients), but added a little more yeast and sugar...not alot, but I find that an added teaspoon of Edmonds Surebake or packet of dry yeast and an extra teaspoon or two of sugar makes for better rising and a fluffier bread.

INGREDIENTS: Sponge/Foam - Combine the following ingredients and allow to froth covered in a warm place for at least an hour.

1/2 Cup Lukewarm Water
1/2 Cup Milk (room temperature)
1 Egg (room temperature)
2 Tbsp Oil or Shortening
1/2 Tsp Salt
3 Tbsp Sugar
2 Cups Bread Flour (High Grade Flour)
2-3 Tsp Edmonds Surebake or 2 Packets Dry Yeast

DOUGH: After the foam has frothed for an hour or so, add in the following:

1 Tsp Mustard Powder
1/4 Tsp Cayenne Powder

3 Tbsp Parmiggiano Regiano (finely grated)

Next, you need to slowly incorporate another 2-3 Cups or so of flour, one cup at a time.

As the dough begins to pull into a ball and away from the bowl, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes adding more flour to your work surface as you go. After 10 minutes, your dough should be smooth and no longer sticky.

Now you need to oil a bowl at least twice the size of your dough ball. But the dough in and flip it over in the bowl to get oil on all of the dough surface. This bowl will now need to be covered and, again, left in a warm place for a couple of hours or so to rise.

After your dough has risen, roll it out flat and knead just a few times before rolling it into a log shape and pinching off golf ball sized amounts and arranging them on a baking stone or tray for baking. This recipe makes approximately 24 buns/rolls so you may opt to cook half at a time or arrange them all together in a pull-apart style, dependin gon how many you need. Any extra dough may be refrigerated for a day or two if you don't need 24 buns at once.

Once your dough balls are ready, let them rise again for a couple of hours if you can, then bake them at 350 F/180 C for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter and you have delicious and slightly savoury dinner rolls.

There are lots of variations on this recipe. You can add onion powder and/or garlic to the froth before adding the bulk of the flour, or make them more cheesy by topping them with grated cheese before baking. Even seeds or wholegrain flour work well. Find what works for you and enjoy making your own bread. I have to be honest in saying that it was the skyrocketing grocery prices that started me on this breadmaking thing...five buck for a loaf of wholegrain Tip Top bread was just over my limit and I refuse to buy the three dollar bread that doesn't last in the bread box. Well, back to the kitchen for me...the soup is beckoning.


This is a great recipe if you aren't allergic to peanuts! This sauce really gives your chicken, pork , rice, or veggies a real kick. I first discovered this recipe on the back label of a Campbell's Chicken Stock box, but found it wasn't quite my idea of satay so I tweaked it a bit to my liking.

New Zealand has a very Asian flavour whether it be in the form of a Chinese Takeaway on every corner, or an Indian or Thai Curry Place across the street from the shops. Personally, I love Pad Thai and I have even begun to experiment with curry in my cooking. It's still something I am getting used to, but I have learned that there are MANY kinds of satays and curries and they all taste a little bit different than the ones I remember trying in America.

Last night I made these pork & chicken skewers with red capsicum (bell pepper) and purple onions. I served them with a spinach salad and roasted kumara. Something for friends & family to look forward to when they come for supper, eh?... I am posting my modified version of the recipe offered by Campbell's, so here you have it.


1 Tbsp Oil
1 Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbsp Mirin
375 ml Chicken Stock
1 Cup Coconut Cream
2-4 Tsp Crushed Red Chilli (depends how hot you like it...more if you like the fiery satays)


Heat oil in a medium saucepan and fry onion approximately 2-3 minutes (don't need to brown, just fry till they start to go transparent).

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer approximately 10 minutes, then serve with meat and/or vegetables of your choice.

Great on skewers, BBQ items, in stir frys and on salads or rice.

SKEWER TIP: I marinate my chicken & pork skewers in soy sauce, mirin and crushed garlic. This gives the meat great flavour and the mirin allows the carmelization of the meat under the grill or on outdoor barbecues.



(Brisket or Silverside also work - Very similar, if not the same as corned beef.)

I am combining these two hunks of meat into one post because they are virtually the same. Personally, I think I like the pickled pork just a bit better because mine turned out slightly less salty than my corned beef. I also believe that the pork ended up even more tender than the beef (if that is actually possible). There wasn't much difference in flavour really, and they were both superb (if I do day so myself).

Cooking in a crock pot or slow cooker for several hours is the best way to get a tender, juicy meal out of a chunk of animal flesh that some people would probably otherwise consider inedible. Without the long and slow process, these cuts would be very tough and dry and probably something akin to shoe leather (no offense no my cobbler mates out there).

Here's how we get this one going:


1-2 Kilos of Corned Beef or Pickled Pork (2.5-4.5 Lbs)
4 Cloves Crushed Garlic (minimum)
4 Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar or Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
2-4 Cups Cold Water
1 Medium Onion Coarsely chopped
1/4-1/2 Shredded Cabbage Head
3 Sliced Carrots


First, rinse & dry the meat and smear it with garlic before placing it into the slow cooker as flat as you can which leaves room for veggies later.

Now add bay leaves, vinegar, and peppercorns then just cover the meat with water. You may opt to leave the top centimetre of the meat sticking out of the water.

Turn cooker on high and leave to cook for about 6 hours. If you plan to leave it longer than 6 hours (away at work 8 hours or more) use the low setting rather than high.

When you are about 30 minutes away from dinnertime, add in the veggies and cook until they are tender but not mushy.

Serve the meat with hollandaise sauce, wholegrain mustard, or horseradish cream.
Voila - easy peasy!!!


This is one of my all time favourite sauces, apart from Dad's Thanksgiving gravy (coming soon). This is a smooth, rich and tangy sauce that is excellent on corned beef, pickled pork or even eggs. (This is your benedict if you like poached eggs on an English muffin with ham, bacon, or sausage.)

This particular recipe is a slight variation from the basic recipe in the New Zealand classic cookbook, Edmonds Cookbook, which is a must for anyone living here on a long-term basis. This particular sauce doesn't scream out "Kiwi" to me, but there are heaps of uniquely "down under" combinations in the Edmonds book...some of which I may try out later and post for your amusement...or, enjoyment.

I do have to say that I will, of course, eventually post a pavlova recipe. A pav is the Kiwi dessert made of meringue and covered in whipped cream and fruit that the Kiwis accuse the Aussies of taking credit for and vise versa. Personally, I prefer the American Angel Food Cake which uses darn near as many egg whites and has every bit as much sweet goodness to offer.

Back to my sauce...this recipe makes about a cup of sauce (more or less), which is usually just right for 4 servings or so.


50 G (approx 1.5-2 oz) Butter - best to use once clarified (melted & milk solids removed)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Egg Yolks
1/3 Cup Cream
3/4 Tsp Dry Mustard Powder
Salt & Pepper to Taste
(Cayenne is good too, but be careful if you try this one...a little goes a long way!)


The first thing I do is to measure out everything in advance and combine the cream and egg yolks so I am not in a rush to get it all mixed once heat is applied...I don't want lemony scrambled eggs, I want a smooth and completely emulsified tangy sauce!

In a small saucepan, I warm the clarified butter over a low heat.

Once the butter is ready, I add in the lemon juice, cream and egg yolks and I stir constantly until the sauce begins to thicken up nicely. One key here, is to get it to the right consistency WITHOUT boiling. If it boils, it will curdle and separate - not a nice thing! Never overheat hollandaise, it's better to take the time and thicken it up very slowly.

Once the sauce is thickened to the right consistency, remove it from the heat and add the mustard powder and salt & pepper. You may cut the mustard down to only 1/2 tsp if you like, but I like to taste it just slightly.

Once everything is well combined, it is ready to serve. This sauce is best served warm (not hot).


Here is a great bread recipe. I was as a school committee meeting when our Canadian hostess brought out a bowl of spinach dip and chunks of this lovely bread for our little group to snack on. I resisted as long as I could and finally caved - BIG mistake. This is a beautiful firm yet slightly eggy and sweet bread that I have not tasted the likes of in some time. I left the meeting making a mental note to call later to get the recipe.

It turned out to be a fairly straightforward recipe that she made the dough for in her breadmaker. Well, I tried that too, but mine didn't mix all that well (although the bread was still very nice in the end). I ended up tweaking the recipe just slightly and then doing all of the mixing & kneading manually and what a difference.

It is certainly worth the extra effort when it comes out right. My one suggestion, is that you don't put this into a loaf pan to bake it...if at all possible, use a baking stone. It does work in a loaf pan, however...the middle will be gooey if you don't get the cooking time just right. Meanwhile, the crust goes quite dark and there is a fine line between perfect and burnt. One other tip for this recipe it that it makes, in my opinion (of which you will find I have many), it makes some of the best French Toast I have ever had. Mom, when you get here, I'll make this one for you! So, ready? Here we go...

STEP ONE: Sponge (Yeast Foam)

Mix together the following and cover with plastic and set aside to froth for an hour.

1 Cup Warm water
2 Pkt/Tsp Yeast
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Shortening (Oil is okay too)
1/2 Cup Honey or Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
1 Cup Flour


In larger bowl, pour the foam mixture in and add...

3 Cups (approximately) High Quality Flour - One cup at a time


Now that you have quite a sticky mess of dough, continue adding in more flour one cup at a time until you have a reasonable ball to turn out onto a floured work surface. Keep adding flour to un-stick the dough and begin kneading for 10 minutes, trying to eliminate all air bubbles and hopefully end up with a solid nonsticky satiny mass of dough.

After kneading the dough for 10 minutes, plop it into a well oiled bowl then flip it over to oil the dough surface evenly.

Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise 1-2 hours (or more) in a warm place. It will double in size for 2 loaves.

After the dough has risen, divide it into two halves and work on one at a time.

Each half needs to be flattened out (again to eliminate air and release/activate gluten for fluffy bread). Now cut into thirds (or fourths or sixths, depending on the braid you want) and roll out each piece into a rope with skinny ends and a fat middle approximately 14 inches long.

Pinch one end of each rope together and begin braiding. When you have braided the entire length of all ropes, pinch the ends together and tuck the ends underneath the loaf.

Brush loaves with egg wash (1 egg and 1 tbsp milk or water) and allow to rise once more for at least an hour (the longer it rises, the better).

To finish - Bake on a stone, sheet or in a loaf pan at 350 F/180 C for approximately 25-35 minutes (watch for crust colour and check bottom colour before removing from oven.

Now cool on wire rack and brush top with butter.



This is one of my favourite salads. My first experience with this was at my late grandmother's house in Coastal Oregon years ago. Two words initially put me off..."wilted", and "spinach"...Yuck. It honestly didn't sound like it could get much worse, but that was before I tasted it! The bacon and vinegar (or lemon) dressing is savoury and tangy and perfect for a healthy salad. You hardly notice you are even eating spinach, although I must confess that I am really learning to like the stuff anyway. You will even see it cropping up in other recipes posted here. Anyway, I found this salad to go very nicely with a lovely porterhouse steak dinner. Since we cannot get A-1 Steak Sauce here, the tangy dressing on thie wilted spinach is a nice substitute for me. Bon Appetite!

4-5 Servings Raw Baby Spinach
1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
250 Gm (1/2 lb) Bacon or Ham
1/3 Cup Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Dry Mustard Powder
1/2 Tsp Crushed Garlic
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/8 Tsp Pepper
1-2 Hard Boiled Eggs

Gently rinse & dry spinach and remove any large stems. Add about half of the onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings, and sliced or chopped hard boiled eggs then cover and chill in refrigerator.

Chop bacon or ham into small bits and saute until crisp.

Add remaining ingredients to the pan and heat the dressing until it is bubbling.

Just before serving, pour hot dressing over salad tossing gently and cover for 2 minutes or so to wilt greens. Now, dig in!!!


This is a quick & easy breakfast sure to please any egg-loving family members as well as the super-busy Mums & Dads trying to get kiddies off to school on time. Even if they don't particularly love their veggies, this is a great tasting option for healthy cooks like me.


1 Egg
1/4 Cup Cream or whole milk
1 Handful of fresh baby spinach
2 Tablespoons Sliced mushrooms
2 Tablespoons Feta Cheese
Salt & pepper to taste


First spray a microwave-safe dish with non-stick spray or oil (1-cup ramekins work perfectly).

Next, beat egg, cream/milk, salt, pepper, and half of the Feta in a separate cup or bowl.

Now, there are two schools on how to make the perfect omelette...personally, I pour the egg in and then top it with the veg, but some folks like if more combined and put the veg in first and pour the egg over the top. I find that it really doesn't matter in the microwave, because it all solidifies into a nicely shaped patty anyway.

Once you have your mixture and veggies in the oiled ramekin, microwave with a lid (even a saucer or small plate works in a pinch) for approximately 90 seconds to 2 minutes or so. The egg will expand (possibly even lifting off your lid) whilst it cooks, so keep an eye on it.

Check for doneness by carefully lifting the bottom of the omelette with a fork to see if it's still slimy...if not, it's done. If it is still a bit undercooked, only nuke it again in increments of 10-15 seconds so as not to overcook.

Now you can tip it out onto a plate and sprinkle remaining Feta on top. Now, you still have time to eat it before chauffeuring the kids to school...in between packing lunches and gathering up library books.



This is a lovely Cheese Crusted (Crustless) Quiche inspired by my close friend who happens to prefer eating "lo-carb" most of the time. She wanted this recipe, so...Voila!!! Time to get started making this yummy dish.


250 Grams (approx 1/2 Lb) Chopped ham, bacon or sausage (or any combination thereof)
1 Cup Shredded cheddar
1 Cup Shredded edam (or jack) cheese
1/2 Cup Creme fraiche (or cream/sour cream)
1/2 Cup Water
4 Eggs
1 Cup Chopped broccoli and capsicum (bell pepper)
2 Tsp Fresh dill or lemon thyme
Salt, pepper, & dry mustard to taste


Sprinkle cheeses in large quiche or pie pan, lightly sprayed with oil, and pat down. This will form your golden crust.

Evenly sprinkle meat and chopped veggies over cheese.

Beat remaining ingredients and pour over top.

Bake in pre-heated 180 C/350 F oven approximately 30 minutes and enjoy while it's hot.


A family favourite for certain, this lovely side is a perfect accompaniment for all sorts of mains. It goes well, with poultry, pork, beef and lamb. It also sneaks in a bit of colourful veg if you have family members with an aversion to all things rich in vitamins and fiber (or beta carotene).


4-5 Med/Lg Potatoes
1 Lg Carrot
3 Tbsp Lite Creme Fraiche (or Sour Cream/Cream)
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup Colby Cheese
2 Tsp Parsley (finely chopped or flakes)
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Peel & cut veggies into similar sized cubes/chunks then boil in salted water for approximately 15 minutes.
Drain well and add all other ingerdients then mash until creamy and all (or most) lumps are gone.

Easy peasy, right??? This is also a great topping for cottage pies and similar casseroles, so…what are you waiting for, eh?


Here's an Asian classic, Coke-a-cola Chicken. There are many ways to do this and some of which involve crock pots, diet cola, and tomato sauce (ketchup to the other Americans out there). Nevertheless, this is one that I like to make and it's quick, easy, and oh so sticky & yummy!!!


600-700 Grams (approx a pound and a half) of Chicken pieces (I use breast tenderloins, but drumsticks or wings also work)
2-4 Tbsp Peanut Oil (or other cooking oil)
3-4 Cloves Garlic (minimum)
2 Tsp Finely crushed or grated ginger
1 Can or roughly 300ml Coke-a-Cola (or, I imagine Pepsi would work in a pinch)
2 Tbsp Bai Jiu (Chinese sorghum liquor) OPTIONAL
1 Tsp Celery Salt
2-3 Tbsp Honey


Heat oil in wok or large chef's pan. When oil is hot, quickly add in ginger and garlic and give a quick stir around before carefully tossing in the chicken peices.

Brown the chicken lightly then pour cola over chicken to cover.

Once cola begins a rapid boil, add in the honey and liquor then give a good stir around before adding the celery salt.

Now cover and simmer until cola reduces to a thick and sticky syrup. Make sure all chicken pieces are well coated and remove from heat. Don't assume the black stuff on the pan is burnt...that's the best part!

I serve mine with steamed veggies and rice vermicelli noodles and topped it off with toasted sesame seeds. Rice or yakisoba noodles would also make a nice substitute for the vermicelli.


Here is one that really ‘gobsmacked’ me, as they say here. You see, where I come from pumpkin is more of a decoration than an edible veg. There are a few brave souls who bake American pumpkins then try to disguise the taste by adding brown sugar, butter and even marshmallows, but truth be told even the traditional Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie is made from a winter squash more widely known as butternut or longneck because the orange jack-o-lantern variety is a bit stringy and doesn’t have a nice texture (or fragrance).

Even the American standby ”Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Filling” in a tin (that claims to use real pumpkin and is what most Yankee Doodles use to make holiday pies) doesn’t actually contain pumpkin! No, technically, its the Dickinson Field Squash. (Save that for your quiz night!) New Zealand Pumpkins (Crown/Crown Prince Pumpkins) are a greyish white outside and have a rich orange middle (with a much less offensive fragrance than their American cousins). When you cut these open, they smell just a bit like a melon, but they cook similarly to potatoes and mash or puree nicely. Let’s not forget this is actually a healthy dish as well.

My hubby introduced me to this soon after I arrived in New Zealand and I was sure I’d hate it and have to suffer through a whole bowlful with a fake smile…however, I was quite pleasantly surprised and I hope anyone who tries this will love it as I do too. So…let’s get started. This recipe makes upwards of 10 servings (depending on how small or large you like your portions).


1 Kilo (about 2 pounds) of cubed pumpkin cut roughly
300 Grams (10-11 ounces) Streaky American Bacon (lightly fried)
this can also be substituted with ham or chicken bacon for a healthier/lower fat option
1 Large Potato cubed
4 Medium Tomatoes quartered
2 Medium Onions roughly chopped
5 Cups Chicken stock (add more or less to cover veg in crock pot)
1 1/2 Tsp Mild curry powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Sour cream (Lite is great too)

TIP ON CUTTING PUMPKIN: Because it is so tough to cut even with the best kitchen knives, ask your produce clerk to cut it into manageable sizes so you can microwave approx 12-15 minutes in a glass bowl with a centimeter or two of water in it and glad wrap over the top. This softens the pumpkin to make cutting and peeling a breeze!


Cut pumpkin into pieces and add to crock pot.

Add diced (semi cooked) bacon, cubed potato, quartered tomatoes, diced onions, chicken stock and salt & pepper.

Cover and cook on low 9-11 hours or high 4-6 hours.

Now puree with immersion/stick blender (or tranfer to a food processor or blender and return puree to crock pot). Make sure the soup does not contain big chunks, and process until you like the consistency.

Add curry powder and sour cream, stir well, and check seasoning. If needed adjust seasoning and cover to cook an additional 20 minutes on low - do not allow to boil.

Voila! Serve with a dollop of sour cream and your favourite crusty bread, croutons or crackers. I don’t even think Campbells could do any better!!!

(Suggestions always welcome)

Upcoming recipes to be added
as fast as I can make them...
  • Tarte au Sucre (Sugar Pie)
  • Sesame Chicken & Rice
  • French Ragout (Roast Beef Leftover Casserole)
  • Chicken & Dumplings
  • Hungarian Mushroom Soup - Full Fat Version
  • Creamy Corn Chowder
  • Pork Mince Meatballs
  • Lynn's Sinful Meatloaf (sis-inlaw's recipe)
  • BBQ Lamb Skewers
  • Paprika Chicken Strips
  • Homemade Caramel Sauce - Lite
  • Creamy Veal with Mushrooms
  • TJ's Chorizo Pasta
  • Lamb Moussaka
  • Homemade Leek & Potato Soup
  • Sinful Chocolate Cake (from scratch)
  • Banana Muffins
  • Cream Cheese & Chive Stuffed Peppadew Peppers
  • Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas
  • Crab Stuffed Pasta Shells with Alfredo Sauce
and much, much more...