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


A few days ago I decided to try something totally new for me – soufflés. I had never tried them before, but I can certainly see how one could get carried away experimenting with them. They are a bit rich, but very light and just the right tangy cheese flavour to satisfy... I have to say too, that these were much easier to make than I had originally anticipated. They took about 35 minutes, more or less, from start to finish.

I recently saw an episode of Iron Chef America where the secret ingredient was ham...the challenger made a twice baked ham soufflé and it looked REALLY good. My soufflés aren’t quite that sophisticated or fancy, and they are only once-baked, but they were quite tasty. I didn’t need my "Plan B" after all! Hehe.

My own humble opinion of this particular recipe is that the pepper and the cheese in the soufflé were really complimented well by the creamed spinach sauce that I made for a side. This was inspired by a tiny cookbook “The Fast Egg” that I recently acquired from a local book shop. I thought it might have some interesting new ideas and I was in need of a bit of inspiration lately.

Anyway, now that I have the gist of it, I think I can come up with a few new flavour combinations to impress lunch or dinner guests in the future. So long as the experimental creations turn out as nicely as these did, I will be more than happy. So...watch this space for future soufflé ideas.


Cooking Oil Spray
¼ Cup Bread Crumbs
30 Gm (2 Tbsp) Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Milk
4 Eggs, separated
¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
150 Firm Feta Cheese, crumbled


First, preheat the oven to 200° C/400° F.

Next, spray your soufflé dishes (6 one-cup capacity dishes or 3 two-cup capacity dishes or mugs), with cooking spray and coat in bread crumbs then place them onto a cooking tray.

Make a roux by melting your butter in a small saucepan and adding the flour to cook for a minute or so.

Once the roux paste is ready, add the milk and bring to a gentle boil just briefly and remove it from the heat once it has thickened.

Pour this hot mixture into a large bowl and quickly stir in the egg yolks (barely beaten), the pepper, and the cheese – allowing it to cool for approximately 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. (You can add a tiny amount of cream of tartar or white vinegar to stabilize the whites if you wish).

Next, you gently fold the whites into the yolks mixture in two batches.

Now, divide the mixture amongst your prepared soufflé dishes and bake about 15 minutes or until they are puffed and lightly browned on the tops.

I served mine with a creamed spinach sauce that was a fantastic compliment to the slightly spicy and cheesy soufflés.

Here’s how:


1 Cup Baby Spinach Leaves, wilted (steamed, boiled, micro waved, etc.)
(Alternatively, thaw out a half cup or so of frozen spinach)
⅔ Cup Cream or Evaporated Milk

*Amounts vary to individual tastes


To make a quick creamed spinach sauce, just steam a good bunch of fresh leaves or thaw out a portion of frozen spinach so that you have about a half to a cup of wilted leaves, give or take.

Blend or otherwise puree the leaves whilst slowly adding the cream/milk and return this mixture to heat in a small saucepan. Add a bit of water or regular milk if the consistency is too thick for your liking.

Heat until warmed through and salt to taste.

Bon appetite!


One flavour from home that I sometimes miss down here in Kiwiland is the Reeses brand peanut butter flavoured treats. I have found though, that both the Reeses Pieces and the Peanut Butter Cups (chocolate covered peanut butter) are both available at Kmart and sometimes at Woolworths. Yes, I do check out the local Kmart once in a while...it is one of the few places I can find certain American items that I like.

The Kiwis and Aussies are always commenting on the American love affair with peanut butter and even my loving husband cannot bring himself to eat it with jam (jelly to my American mates). When they see TV programs talking about the "peanut butter and jelly sandwich" they literally cringe...I can actually understand that one now, because "jelly" here is "Jell-O" to us 'Yankee Doodles'. Yes, I am referring to the gelatanous quivery, wiggly, jiggly, semi-solid food stuff that I never could stand the texture of in my mouth. Luckily, our daughter doesn't care much for it either, so I am pardoned from having to make any of the horrible concoction myself!

This cookie/biscuit recipe is loosely based on the Mrs. Fields chocolate chip recipe (from the good ‘ole homeland) with a few little adjustments to suit the Kiwi kitchen. I assisted my daughter in making this batch, so I will give her the credit for this post. ;o)

Here we go...


2½ Cups Flour
½ Tsp Baking Soda
¼ Tsp Salt
1 Cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
½ Cup Molasses
1 Cup Butter, softened
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla Essence/Extract
2 Cups Reeses Pieces Candy


Preheat the oven to 150° F/300° C.

First, combine the flour, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Next, cream the sugars, molasses and butter together in a large bowl. Blend these together until it forms a thick and grainy paste.

Now, add the eggs and vanilla to the creamed sugar mixture. Blend well with an electric mixer until it starts to get fluffy.

Slowly add about a half cup to a cup at a time of the flour mixture into the wet mixture and thoroughly combine before adding the Reeses Pieces. Be careful not to overmix.

Once the cookie dough is ready, drop rounded spoonfuls onto a silicone baking mat or non-stick baking tray about 2 inches apart from each other and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Once cooked, transfer them immediately to a cooling rack or other cool surface for a few minutes before tucking in.



Firstly, I must apologize for being a bit lax with my posting lately. School has been out since just before Easter and hubby took a week off to have some fun with us. Unfortunately, he spent much of that week fighting off a chest cold and I have played nursemaid, among other things.

Friday night we did go to the rugby game (thank goodness the Hurricaines had the decency to beat the Stormers for us)...you see, our Canes haven’t been performing so well lately and I though it just might make hubby feel worse and set him back a few days...luckily, that wasn’t the case!

Yesterday our friends next door invited us on a little runabout on their new boat and, of course, hubby felt good enough to go out again (probably still on a high from the previous night’s game). So, out we went with our fishing gear in hand. You see, we bought a fishing rod & reel for our daughter last year and kept waiting for a good time to take her out, but we always seemed to find other things to do. Well, it turned out to be a lovely day and we did indeed get to fish a little around Mana Island. Our little girl was also lucky enough to be the first to catch a fish! She was SOOO excited and it was great to see her so thrilled with herself. Unfortunately, it was a smallish perch and it had to go back. Shortly after that, Daddy caught his first fish too! Probably the same one... Hehe

However, I have managed to dig out a few new recipes for this blog, but it will just take a bit of time to get them up with photos for you. I haven't recently made anything new and exciting but I did help my daughter make cookies with some Reeses Pieces we found by accident in a local shop (not a regular offering here), and I found some lovely locally grown red/purple cauliflower (photo above) which was delightful. I am also going to soon attempt a goat’s cheese soufflé with creamed spinach...so...watch this space. I always do better when school is in session.

More coming soon!!!



So, some of you might be thinking, “What the heck is a pierogi?”, well, I guess I like to describe it as a Polish dumpling something akin to raviolis...large raviolis.

When I was in high school, my friend’s dad used to make these and, later on I would buy frozen ones (not this good though) when they were available through
Schwanns if they came through my neighbourhood in California or Oregon. I could also sometimes find them in grocery store frozen sections, but they would usually be disappointingly lacking in flavour.

Traditionally, I believe the most popular type of pierogi is simply mashed potato, cheese and sautéed onion. I like mine a little more substantial, so I usually add minced beef or pork and mushrooms (if I can get away with it, as my daughter has not yet learnt to appreciate them). These dumplings are usually served with a side of sour cream and a serving of some sort of veggie. Pierogies are great as a snack or as a meal and you can make them pretty much any size you like. These little beauties can also be refrigerated (uncooked) for several days or, frozen for up to several months.

If you make the dough ahead of time, the rest sort of falls into pace and really takes about the same amount of time as any other dinner might. The pierogies can be eaten as they are after boiling them or, fry or bake them afterward to give them a lovely crispy crunch. Whichever preparation you prefer, these will be a nice treat.


2 Cups Flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
½ Tsp Salt
1 Lg Egg
½ Cup Sour Cream, plus extra to serve with the pierogi
¼ Cup Butter, softened (or oil)
1 Tbsp Butter


To prepare the pierogi dough, mix the flour and salt in a medium bowl.

Next, beat the egg in a separate bowl or mug and then add it to the flour mixture.

Now, add the sour cream and the softened butter and combine well. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon or so of water (I used the water reserved from boiling the potatoes).

You will need to work the dough approximately 5-7 minutes, or until it is no longer overly sticky – adding spoonfuls of additional flour one at a time, if needed (I don’t usually need to).

Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 20-30 minutes (overnight is good); the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


1-2 Tbsp Butter
2 Med Onions, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
4 Lg Potatoes, boiled and mashed
500 Gm (1 Lb) Pork Mince (Ground Pork)
*Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Colby Cheese, grated (just about any cheese works in these)

*Amounts vary to individual tastes.


First, heat the butter in a large pan and sauté the onions in it until they begin to soften then add the garlic, continuing to cook until the onions become clear.

Set aside the onions and cook the pork, seasoning with salt and pepper and cooking until the meat is cooked through.

Lastly, add in the onions, mashed potatoes and cheese and mix well before setting the filling mixture aside to cool.


First, roll the pierogi dough on a floured surface until about ¼ inch thick, or thinner (like a ravioli).

Next, cut ovals or circles of dough (similar in size to a CD). Use whatever you are comfortable with – cookie cutter, drinking glass, Tupperware lid, or just use a knife. You may opt to make larger or smaller pierogies, if you wish.

Afer tasting the filling for seasoning, place a small amount of filling (roughly 1-2 tablespoons or so, depending on the size you cut the dough into) onto each piece of pierogi wrapping and fold it over, forming sort of a semi-circle, pressing the edges together and pinching with your fingers or with the tines of a fork. If the edges do not stick together well, slightly moisten them with water and try again. I don’t have trouble unless I get the filling mashed into the seal. :o)

A few at a time, cook the pierogies in a large pot of boiling water. They will be done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and allow to dry – I lay them out n a baking rack over a baking sheet and they dry pretty quickly.

Next, sauté a bit of chopped onion in butter (to season the pan) until the onions are soft, before adding the pierogies and pan frying them until they are lightly crispy. Alternatively, you can put the butter and onions onto a baking sheet to crisp them in the oven instead (about 180° C for 8-10 minutes).

We love pierogies and hope you will too.



The first time I purchased “swedes” here in New Zealand, I was asked by the gentleman at the checkout counter, “How do you eat those?...I thought they were only good fodder for the cows and horses.” I was a little astonished, actually, as I had used them in soups, and stews (as rutabagas) in the States. I had also eaten them mashed along with potatoes at holiday time when visiting friends. It was interesting to see that even with the Kiwi ingenuity and general “green” attitude so prolific ‘down under’, that they would have overlooked such a versatile veg that is so inexpensive to buy, healthy, and downright tasty.

The stereotypical Kiwi will proudly value their resourcefulness and green thumbs. They try to save the planet, save the whales, and hang their clothes on a line in the garden to save electricity rather than using the dryer in their laundry (apparently dryers are only for rainy days and Americans – hehe). So, how is it that the poor swede has been overlooked as a good source of nutrition – especially in such a challenging economic era...where a block of cheese can cost, at it's worst, about NZ $10-12 and a dozen eggs or a loaf of bread can easily be over NZ $5-6???

Well, no matter the reason, I will introduce a few ways to bring this poor little root to the forefront again and give people a few options to try and really enjoy this ‘darlin’ for what it can be.

Here is the first, but certainly not the last, recipe for the swede.


1 Swede (Rutabaga), approx 1.5 kg (3 Lbs)
2 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Cream
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Tsp Sugar
*Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped

*Amounts vary to individual tastes.


The first thing to do, is to cut up and boil the swede/rutabaga. They are tough, so the easiest way is to quarter them before peeling with a vegetable peeler, then cut it into bite-sized cubes before carefully dropping them into boiling salted water about 1 inch deep. Use about 1 teaspoon of the salt in this water.

Boil the swede/rutabaga for about 15-20 minutes or, until fork tender (much like boiling potatoes).
Move your oven rack to a position about 6 inches from the top and preheat your oven grill (broiler).

Next, drain the pieces well, and then return them to the saucepan.

In a separate bowl or mug, combine the cream, remaining salt, flour, sugar and pepper before pouring it over the swede/rutabaga in the saucepan and cooking over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thicken slightly and heat completely.

Now turn this mixture out into a shallow baking dish and place into the oven under the grill/broiler to brown slightly. The cream will puff slightly and turn a golden brown.

Once it has been removed from the grill/broiler, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

This is a lovely alternative (lo-carb option) to potatoes as a side dish as well!

Bon appetite!


For some reason, last week I was watching The People’s Cookbook on UKTV and this cute little old lady, Flossie Squires, came on. Now, I probably need to explain what this show is all about. Well, here is the abbreviated summary...there are two professional chefs who choose recipes sent in by viewers. These chefs each choose one viewer’s recipes (usually a main and a dessert each), and then bring in the people who sent the recipes to demonstrate and cook them together. The idea is that the chefs are competing against each other and cook the recipes for a panel of judges (ordinary people like you or me) and whichever recipes are chosen, will eventually be added to The People’s Cookbook when it is published.

Now, going back to the cute little old lady, Flossie (what a great name too!). Well, her recipe for a main was quite simple really. It was basically a roasted chicken...with a twist though. She stuffed her chicken with lemon wedges and herbs, saving two wedges at the end to cram under the wings...then she smeared Marmite all over the chicken before covering it in bacon.

I know – my American friends are saying, “what the hell is Marmite?” Marmite is the Kiwi/British version of Vegemite and it is a very pungent yeast spread that Kiwis, Aussies, and Brits like to use for making sandwiches with or to spread (very sparingly) on toast. It is also good, in moderation as a soup stock flavouring as well. I know I had seen Marmite (and Vegemite) in American groceries on the west coast, so I know it is available if you want to give this recipe a try. (Otherwise, perhaps I can “hook you up” with some...) The folks out here don’t get the American fascination with peanut butter, yet this yeast spread stuff is far more potent than any peanut butter I have ever come across. So – remember to use it sparingly if you plan on eating it straight or adding it to your soups!!!

Anyway, I have changed the recipe just a little, but it was absolutely fantastic and the whole house smelled gorgeous!!! We have a lemon tree in our garden, but I wanted to try this with an orange because I find that lemons are pretty strong when used with chicken. Oranges seem to lend a little citrus without overpowering the other flavours like lemons sometimes can. This recipe is certainly a must try if you like roasted chicken and/or bacon. I have to say also, that no salt is needed due to the saltiness of both the spread and the bacon, so really, garlic and pepper are the only seasonings required! Let’s get this started!


1 Roasting Chicken (I think mine was about 2 kg, that’s roughly 4-5 Lbs)
1 Large Orange
2-3 Tbsp Marmite or Vegemite (not much flavour variation between the two, really)
2-3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Tsp Black Pepper (more or less)
200-300 Gm Streaky Bacon (about 8 strips or so of American-style Bacon)
½ Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock


Preheat your oven to 190° C (375° F).

First cut your orange into several wedges and squeeze just a little juice into a small bowl (perhaps a teaspoon or less – only to help thin the marmite a bit)

Next, add the marmite and garlic then mix thoroughly together.

Now, rinse and pat dry the chicken before sprinkling a bit of pepper inside, and then stuffing all but 2 small wedges of the orange in too.

Next, you will spread the garlicky marmite mixture all over the chicken – top, bottom, sides – before placing the chicken, breast side up, in a shallow roasting dish.

Now, tuck the last two thin orange wedges under the wings before covering the chicken with bacon rashers.

Lastly, you pour the stock (or water, if you don’t have stock) into the bottom of the pan and cook the chicken for about 20 minutes per 500 Gm (per pound) or until the internal temperature is 82° C (180° F).

The bacon can be removed after the first hour if you desire. I cooked my chicken for 2 hours and left the bacon on. It was moist, tender and absolutely fantastic! Now...if you want gravy, you can pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and heat to a boil, and then add a bit of corn flour (corn starch) pre-mixed with either cold milk or cold water to thicken it. Season if desired, and voila!

I par-boiled then roasted potatoes and carrots to accompany our chicken, but you can fix whatever you like as a side accompaniment.

Good health and enjoy!