About Me

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



There are a few things that I really love to cook with, yet fail to use regularly on account of my daughter’s finicky palate. One of those items is the mushroom...Portabellos (or Portabellas) to be more specific, no matter how you like to say or spell it. Since my daughter has yet to develop a more refined appreciation for some of nature’s bounty, I only make these types of recipes once in a blue moon (which also means that I am making another separate dish for her).

Just how did I become this easily manipulated??? Well, one only needs to look into that little angelic face and stare into those deep hazel eyes as the lashes flutter so innocently when she says “please Mummy?” to know she has the upper hand. (sigh) Ah well, she doesn’t get away with murder though...I choose my battles carefully and, I still grate some carrot and courgette into her mac-n-cheese before presenting her supper to her. (Yeah, okay...I know.)

The mushroom is such a vital flavour in so many dishes...stroganoffs, gravies and sauces, even in some soups, so I can’t go totally cold turkey now, can I? No, I usually need to dice them up so finely that our little darling cannot detect any “chunks” and that is, for the most part, a satisfactory compromise. However, sometimes I just need to really savour a genuine, pureley perfect mouthful of this fungi (usually accompanied by some form of another fungi relative – cheese).

On another note, I also have so say how truly impressed with the speed of my new Dell device - WOW! This is going to make blogging, Facebook networking, emails, web surfing and all of that other fun stuff SOOO much easier now. Even my hubby likes the "flash new system", so I think I done picked a good'n y'all! ;o)

So, without further adieu...


10 Portabello Mushrooms
2 Cups Breadcrumbs
150 Gm (5 Oz) Camembert Cheese
50 Gm (2 Oz) Pariggiano Reggiano, freshly grated
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Red Onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp (good handful) Basil, finely chopped
¼ Cup Milk
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

*2 Tbsp Sour Cream
*Serve as a side sauce


Preheat your oven to 180° C (350° F)

In a food processor, finely chop the mushroom stalks, cheeses, garlic, onion and basil.

Add in the breadrumbs, milk, and oil and pulse a few times just to combine, as you still want a fairly coarse mixture. Add a bit more milk if it is too dry to stick together.

Roll the stuffing into 10 roughly equal sized balls and flatten each into each mushroom cap. Press moderately to make sure the stuffing gets into the mushroom gills.

Arrange the stuffed mushrooms in a single layer in a baking dish and cook for 15-20 minutes before turning the oven to grill/broil for an additional 5 minutes to brown the tops.

Regular white onions can be used in a pinch and if you don’t like Camembert cheese you can try substituting another semisoft cheese in its place. Also, croutons or even fresh bread may be used instead of crumbs, however, if you use fresh bread slices, cut back on (or eliminate) the milk.

Happy cooking!



This is a special request from a couple of work mates. You see, a few months ago I was “complaining” about having a plethora of lemons on an overflowing tree in my back garden, which promptly backfired when my colleague suggested (read: insisted) a lemon meringue pie to be the next treat I brought in for the group. A few days later, I was baking again, and decided to make said pie. I brought this pie in to work and proceeded to divide it into 6 or 8 pieces for morning tea, which disappeared just about as quickly as I could dish it up. Well, “Glassboy” was upset that one of the other managers got two pieces and ever since then, he has been...encouraging....me to make another pie (all for him – not to share).

Well, over the Christmas break I made some Lemon Honey and decided that after I went back to work it might be a good time to make this additional pie...or, even better...several smaller ones. Well, Glassboy did NOT specify what size I was supposed to make for him. Hehe, even after bringing in 6 or 8 individual pies, he managed to make off with more than one!

Anyway, after I brought the mini-pies in for folks, people began asking for the recipe and I have been a bit lax about posting recipes lately, so I figured now was a good time to share the recipe for my mates. (Linda – this is for you and my other “coffee group sisters” too!) :o)

If you are feeling adventurous, you can make a proper crust (below), but if you are short on time a frozen, pre rolled short pastry will work just as well.

1 Cup Oat Flour (1¼ Cups oatmeal processed to a fine powder)
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
½ Cup Butter
¼ Tsp Salt
¼ to ½ Cup Water

In a medium bowl mix the flours and salt, then carefully cut in small pieces of the cold butter and combine well with a fork or pastry cutter until it’s about the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs.

Very slowly, add just a little cold water at a time until dough forms a non-sticky ball and holds well together.

Now place the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead it only slightly and proceed to roll it out into a large circle, about 3-4 millimetres thick and large enough around to fill a standard sized pie dish.

4 Large Egg Yolks (save whites for meringue)
3 Large Whole Eggs
1 Cup Caster Sugar
¾ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1-1 ½ Tbsp Lemon Zest (takes 2-3 lemons depending on size)2 Tbsp Corn Flour (aka Corn Starch)
½ Cup Butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

First, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and blind bake the crust until it just begins to colour and set aside.

Next, heat some water in a double boiler (or in a saucepan with a well fitting glass bowl on top that isn’t too deep and the bottom of which won’t touch the water in the pan).

In the top of the double boiler, whisk the yolks and eggs for a minute and add the rest of the filling ingredients EXCEPT for the butter.

Now, cook this mixture over the simmering water stirring constantly over medium heat.

When the filling is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter until all is well combined. DO NOT LET THE MIXTURE BOIL!

Pour this filling into the crust and prepare the meringue in a large bowl.

4 Large Egg Whites
¼ Tsp Corn Flour
¼ Tsp Cream of Tartar (or substitute with ½ Tsp of white vinegar)
½ Cup Caster Sugar
1 ½ Tsp Vanilla Essence

First, beat the egg whites at medium speed until they are foamy.

Next, beat in the corn flour and cream of tartar/vinegar until soft peaks form.

Now, gradually add in the vanilla and the sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat the meringue.

You can either spoon the meringue on top of the filling, smoothing with the back of the spoon or spatula before patting it slightly to create peaks or, alternatively you can pipe it on top of the filling with a cake decorating tip. Either way, make certain to get the meringue to the very edge of the crust to seal in the filling and minimise “weeping” later.

Now bake the pie until the meringue is golden. Peaks will get dark, but don’t remove the pie until it’s well coloured evenly, otherwise you get a “raw” meringue in the middle. (Bakes about 12-15 minutes)

After the pie is finished cooking, it's best to leave it a room temperature for at least a couple of hours. If you refrigerate it too soon, the meringue will weep and you will find a sticky dew all over the top of the pie when you retrieve it to serve. It is actually just fine to leave it at room temperature overnight, but I would refrigerate any leftovers (if any) after that.

Bon appetite!