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


Well, winter is coming...we can all feel it now and I am reluctantly putting my summer clothes, swimming togs, and sandals away and pulling out the warmer jerseys, gloves and coats. I have even draped a scarf or two on my coat rack for easy access in the weeks to come. Although this may be a depressing time for some, I quite enjoy the winter here as it lends so many opportunities for really hearty meals and lovely aromas from the oven cutting through the crisp air.

An absolute MUST TRY if you like lean pork is this genuine American, southern-inspired, makes your mouth water, tenderloin recipe. Even with a touch of seasonal allergies flaring up, I could still smell the wonderful aromas from this one wafting from my oven. I was drooling long before the meat ever made it out of the oven! This is a seasoning combination that I have mucked around with a bit and I think this is perhaps as good as it gets.

Even though I am using (Mexican) chilli powder, it is not “hot”. If you think you’d prefer a bit of bite, you might try adding a hint of cayenne to this mix, but it is very flavoursome just the way I have written it below. The measurements are more “best guess” really and any leftover spice mix was added to a wild rice pilaf cooked in beef broth, which was nice as well.

In any case, let’s get down to it, shall we?


500 Gms (1 Lb) Pork Tenderloin
¼ Cup (more or less) Olive Oil
2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Chilli Powder
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder
½ Tsp Thyme
1 Pinch Allspice
2-3 Bay Leaves, finely crushed
½ Tsp Oregano
*Sea Salt
½ Cup Dry White Wine
½ Cup Chicken broth

*Amounts vary to individual tastes.


Preheat oven to about 220° C (425 ° F).

Line your baking dish or roasting pan with stalks of celery and/or carrots to use as a rack to keep the meat from submerging in the pan juices whilst cooking. (A cool trick I think I learned from Alton Brown.)

First, trim any thick fat if necessary and rinse/dry meat before rubbing with oil and placing into a shallow baking dish or roasting pan.

Mix spices together in a small bowl and rub them over the oiled meat evenly – top, sides and bottom.

Next, pour wine and broth into the bottom of the pan.

Now, put the pan into the oven to roast for about 25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat is between 65 and 70° C (150 and 155° F).

Remember to tent the meat with foil and leave it to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Also, the pan juices can be used to make thin gravy if desired, or simply used as-is to spoon over the meat. This is a nice dish to have with mashed swedes in cream (rutabagas for my fellow Yankees out there) and/or with rice and steamed veggies.



This is a really good one...although, half the family claims this style of dumplings to be German, and the other half say it’s French (Joie, any opinion?). These dumplings are made more like a sort of noodle rather than an American biscuit or doughy spoonful of half-cooked goo. I think this is what I like so much about my dumplings as opposed to anything you can get in a restaurant or at a friend’s house for dinner.

I thought this would be a good down-home comfort-food style recipe to post in honour of my late Aunt Ruth. She passed away this week after an awful struggle with diabetes and associated complications. She was a real countrified lady who knew her way around a kitchen. I remember her house was always full of music, laughter, and usually a pot-luck style feast for about 20 people or so! She was a real biscuits & gravy, country fried steak, deep fried southern-style chicken, Johnny Cash & Loretta Lynn lovin’ woman.

Aunt Ruth raised some great kids with the help of her husband, my late Uncle Lew, despite not having much in the way of money much of the time. They were never short on love. Her family have all had great faith, strength, and now a knowledge that their Mom is in a far greater place...with the man she loved for most of her life, and the daughter she had recently lost to the angels. Aunt Ruth was a kind and thoughtful wife, mother, aunt, and granny.

The weather is chilling down here now...not much like the heavenly warmth of Hawaii over the last couple of weeks...and I am hankerin’ for some real comfort food, so I hope you try and enjoy this family favourite that my folks shared with me and, that I am now passing on to you.


500 Gms (1 Lb) Chicken Pieces, with skin preferred (I use boneless thighs and/or breasts)
*Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, paprika to taste
½ Cup Flour
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Carrots, roughly chopped
2 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
1 Med Onion, roughly chopped
1-2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
4 Cups Chicken or Veggie Broth
1 – 2 Cups Hot Water - optional

*Amounts vary to individual tastes.


First lightly season and flour the chicken pieces, and then lightly coat with flour.

Now, in your soup/stock pot, heat oil and quickly brown the coated chicken pieces then move them onto a separate plate to the side for a moment.

Next, add the butter and quickly heat the carrots, celery and onion before adding the garlic and cooking an additional minute.

Return the chicken and add the broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Add hot water if you like more broth in your soup, otherwise this will become quite thick and gravy-like.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer.

Now it’s time to make the dumplings...


1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
½ Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tbsp Chicken Fat, skimmed from soup (or oil)
1 Egg
**1 Cup Milk
2 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped

**Only add a bit at a time, enough to bring dumpling dough together into non-sticky firm ball for rolling flat.


Sift all dry ingredients together into a medium bowl and slowly mix in the fat/oil and the egg.

Carefully add the milk in just a bit at a time until the dough is fully combined and the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, but dough is not sticky. (If the dough becomes sticky, just add a spoonful of flour at a time until the consistency is right.)

Now add the parsley and knead gently on a floured surface.

Roll the dough into a rectangle only about ½ Cm (¼ In) thick and then, using a sharp knife, slice into ribbons and then again crossways into little squares.

Carefully drop the dumplings into the soup and allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy this one – it’s simply delicious.


Well, in less than 24 hours now I will be in Waikiki, Oahu with my lovely family and I will be relying primarily on other cooks' creations for several days. Do not be surprised to see a post or two on Hawaiian fare if I get the chance!

Luckily, I have a good friend to stay and cuddle our needy little cat, Polly, whilst we are away. Things have been hectic lately with all of my daughter's activities, homework and school projects, but I have managed to provide a few tasty treats for the family on minimal time allowances. This, and the fact that hubby loves my cooking, makes me VERY proud of myself.

I borrowed this lovely sounding recipe from Katherine at Smoky Mountain Cafe and I have to say, it was just as good as I thought it might be. I made a few minor adjustments to suit my own tastes (and to feed an extra dinner guest) and it was, in my opinion, a good choice. Oh, yes...those ARE Artichokes in the photo background...and from our little veggie patch in the back garden...just gorgeous!

Thank you Katherine, for the inspiration!


1 Med Onion or 3 Lg Shallots, finely minced
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Good EVOO
3 Cups Diced Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Cup Cream (I used canned evaporated milk to lower the fat content)
¼ Cup Vodka
½ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes, crushed
300 Gms (½ Lb) Prawns, peeled, tails off & deveined
300 Gms (½ Lb) Chicken, cut into bite-sized cubes
*Salt & Pepper

*Amounts vary to individual tastes


First, heat the butter and oil together in a skillet over medium heat.

Next, add the minced onion to skillet and saute until transparent.

At this point, I quickly brown the chicken for a few minutes then add the prawns and brown those for an additional minute or so...then, I removed the chicken and prawns and set them aside to add back in later.

Now, add the diced tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until almost no liquid remains in skillet, stirring frequently.

Next, increase heat and add the basil, cream (or evaporated milk), vodka and crushed red pepper flakes.

Just bring to a light boil then reduce the heat to add back in the chicken and prawns (or whatever seafood you plan to use).

Now, boil this for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens up a bit.

Lastly, season to taste with salt and pepper.

There you have it. A flavourful and creamy tomato sauce with depth. I added veggies at the last minute and served this with vermicelli noodles, but it would be tasty with other pastas or even rice too.



In our household, I try not to make too many beef or lamb dishes on account of the health and nutrition issues constantly being reported as risk factors associated with red meat. Instead, we eat quite a bit of chicken, pork and seafood. Yes, on occasion I need to have a steak or make a meatloaf with beef mince, but overall the red meat is more of an occasional treat rather than an everyday main meal.

Limiting any one thing in your diet can present challenges, such as; what to use as a satisfying substitute, how to season and flavour it, how to cook it and, of course, what to eat with it. I sometimes find myself fixing the same old pork roast or the same old sesame chicken and have to stop and think about what other options I have. Usually, the options are limited to what happens to live in the pantry at the time but more, and more often I find that I am actually planning things in advance (shocking, I know) because I have little precious time to do it after 3 o’clock when my darling daughter is off school. Usually, I am racing home for clothing changes and off to the activity of the day...swimming, dance class, gymnastics, whatever - home again just in time to cook dinner.

In this instance, I had found that I was making my same old stand-by sweet & sour sauce for chicken or pork and decided this time was going to be different. Rather than using the old pineapple juice and vinegar method, I tried a distinctively more flavoursome combination that turned out to be quite lovely (even if I do say so myself). Even my finicky daughter devoured her supper, so I must have done something right! One of the keys to getting more flavour into the meat is to marinate for at least an hour – overnight is even better!

So, here we go...


2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce
(or one chilli, deseeded and finely diced)
1 Tsp Ginger, crushed
½ Cup Plum Sauce
½ Cup Hoisin Sauce
1 Tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
700 Gms ~ (about 1 ½ Lbs) Lean Pork, cut into strips or medallions
1 Tbsp Rice Bran Oil
2 Bundles of Somen Rice Noodles
2 Cups Vegetables, diced or julienned for stir fry
(I used carrots, sweet peppers, onion and scallions, but
baby corn, snow peas and cabbage are all great options too!)


First, combine the garlic, chilli sauce, ginger, plum and Hoisin sauces, and Chinese five spice in a small bowl and mix well.

Next, marinate the pork in this sauce mixture for at least an hour before proceeding to the next step.

Once the meats has marinated, heat the oil in a good sized pan and begin cooking the pork in batches. This will allow the meat to cook thoroughly and, keeps the pan temperature from dropping too low when you add the meat. Use cooking spray in between batches if necessary.

Meanwhile, boil a pot of salted water for the noodles (which only take 2 minutes to cook fully).

Now, remove all of the meat and stir fry your vegetables for about 2 minutes before adding the pork back in.

Cook your noodles while stir frying the veggies and then serve the pork and veggie mixture with the noodles.

Just one more quick & easy recipe that is very tasty even for finicky little ones. This would also be great with chicken, lamb or even beef, if you prefer.