Saturday, 29 June 2013

Kumara Bravas for Matariki

Here's a kumara dish for Matariki. Kumara have been grown in Aotearoa for a very long time. It is thought that they were first brought here by early Maori settlers from  the Pacific over a thousand years ago.  

My Kumara Bravas recipe was inspired by Patatas Bravas , a classic Spanish tapa dish which is served in bars all over Spain. Bravas means fierce . In this recipe the bite isn't too fierce.It comes from the hot chilli sauce.

Matariki, the Maori harvest festival invites us to celebrate and share. So  put the kumara bravas on  a big platter . Pass it round with some toothpicks so everyone can dip in and enjoy.

If you haven't used smoked paprika before start with a little, it's an acquired taste but I think it really makes this dish special. 


400 grams of  peeled Kumara (cut into wedges)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of vegetable/olive oil
1 400 gram can of diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 medium size onion (chopped)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika ( optional)
1 teaspoon of palm sugar (crushed)
a dash of hot chilli sauce (I used Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce)
salt to taste

Parsley or coriander finely chopped


Chop the kumara into chunky pieces. Toss with a tablespoon of coconut oil and bake in a 200 degree C oven for about 20 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown. They may need a little longer.

While they are baking prepare the sauce.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable/olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until it has softened.
Add the crushed garlic and fry for a further minute.
Add the remainder of the ingredients.
Simmer for about 10 minutes stirring the tomatoes and mashing them with the back of a fork from time to time. The sauce should be pulpy and will have reduced.
Arrange the kumara wedges on a platter.
Drizzle some of the hot sauce over the top.
Garnish with the chopped parsley/coriander

( If you don't have coconut oil, vegetable oil will do although it won't be as aromatic. Palm sugar does add a warm, caramel flavour but it can be replaced by sugar. )

Friday, 28 June 2013

Crackers with Chilli Cream Cheese and a Mexican Salsa.

Spread brown rice crackers with a Hot Samoan Boys cream cheese dip, top with a Mexican Salsa, and you have a delicious healthy snack.
Start by making the dip. Beat together 300 grams of cream cheese, the juice of a lime and a few drops of Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce. Add finely grated lime rind to taste.
It's the zest of the lime, the outer green part of the peel that you want here. Do not use the white underneath, it's bitter.
The idea for adding some grated lime rind to this dip came from a Pacific Flavours workshop at Cook the Books, It makes your mouth tingle and adds some zing. 
Next make a Mexican Salsa (A mixture of chopped tomato, green pepper, red onion , fresh coriander,a squeeze of lemon  juice and some salt to taste.) Leave it to rest for a while so the flavours can  mingle.
Spread brown rice crackers generously with the cream cheese dip and top with the salsa. Best served straightaway. After a few hours they can go a little soggy.
You can also make this with mascarpone instead of cream cheese, more calories but deliciously rich and creamy.




Thursday, 27 June 2013

Roasted Pumpkin with Chilli and Thyme

These colourful and spicy pumpkin slices make a healthy and tasty side dish . You don't have to peel the pumpkin which makes life easy!

The recipe can easily be doubled, or trebled depending on how many mouths there are to feed.

For three people you will need:

400 grams of pumpkin (sliced fairly thinly)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 crushed garlic clove
A dash of Hot Samoan Boys chilli sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss everything together and arrange in a single layer in a baking dish. Scatter some fresh thyme leaves over the top.

Bake  at 200 degrees C for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through and is slightly browned.

Chilli Gingernuts


Go on, put a little fire into your gingernuts! These little cuties are crunchy at the edges and slightly chewy in the middle. For adults only, or staunch kids.  


125  grams of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
1 egg
2 cups of selfraising flour
3 teaspoons of ground ginger
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon of Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C
Melt butter in  a saucepan
Remove from heat.
Stir in the sugar, golden syrup and beaten egg.
Sift flour and ginger into another bowl
Pour in the butter mixture
Mix them together.
Put the dough in the fridge to cool down for about 15-20 minutes
When it has firmed up roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls
Place well apart on lightly greased/ baking paper lined oven trays (or they will run into each other)
Bake in a moderate oven for about 12 minutes till they are golden brown.
Watch carefully towards the end of the cooking time to make sure they don't burn at the edges.

Makes approximately 45

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Ancient Grains Salad

Eaten last night at a Quinoa seminar at IE Produce in Takapuna. What a great night we had! A chance to learn and a chance to taste a range of quinoa recipes  including this super healthy salad. The main ingredient was Ceres organics ancient grain fusion (white and black quinoa combined with brown and red rice)
Once cooked these ancient grains were combined with olives, sun dried tomatoes and garden herbs and tossed in a dressing.

Quinoa with fresh herbs, Sundried tomatoes and Olives

Ready in             20 minutes

Serves:                2  
1 cup               Ceres Organics Quinoa, (red, white, Super grain mix or quinoa rice blend)

     ¼  cup             parsley, chopped

     ¼ cup              basil, chopped

     1 tbsp              Thyme leaves, chopped            
 1/4 cup            Ceres Organics Sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped small

    1/4 cup            Black olives, chopped small

  2 Tbsp.            Fresh lemon juice
  4  Tbsp.        Ceres Organics Olive oil
  Pinch               Ceres Organics Herb salt

Cook Quinoa according to packet instructions. Transfer to a bowl.   Allow to cool.  Add fresh herbs, sundried tomatoes and black olives.

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Toss with quinoa.

Joyce has kindly posted the recipes we tried  on the IE produce website. To see them go to
Once you are on the home page
Click on ‘In Store shows (right hand side of the page)
Click on ‘Past Shows’
Click on Quinoa evening (pronounced keen-wa)
Click on ‘recipes’.



Saturday, 22 June 2013


Some biscuits. like people, just need their own space. That's just how these gingernuts are. Leave plenty of room between them as they bake or they'll spread out and stick to their neighbours.

Still, even the conjoint ones tasted really nice once they'd been broken apart and just as I remembered them from Nick's Playcentre days. Crisp at the edges and a little chewy in the middle, they came from his friend Robert's Mum.


125  grams of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
2 cups of selfraising flour
3 teaspoons of ground ginger


Melt butter in pan
Remove from heat and add sugar, golden syrup and beaten egg.
Mix until well combined
Sift flour and ginger into bowl
Pour in butter mixture
Mix until combined
Allow to cool a little
Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls
Place well apart on lightly greased oven trays
Bake in moderate oven for about 12 minutes till they are golden brown.
Watch carefully towards the end of the cooking time to make sure they don't burn at the edges.
Makes approximately 45

Chilli Con Carne

A big pot of Chilli Con Carne will keep the wolf from the door on a blustery chilly winter's night. This spicy comfort food is inexpensive and filling. Leftovers taste even better the next day.

Be careful not to make it too fiery if there are children about, they tend to like mild. So adjust the amount of hot chilly sauce to suit their taste. Adults can turn up the heat as much as they like.


1 tablespoon of oil

1 large onion (chopped)

2 rashers of streaky bacon (roughly chopped)

2 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)

500 grams of minced beef

2/3 cup of beef stock

400 gram can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice

400 gram can of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

2 tablespoons of tomato puree.

1 teaspoon of sugar.

1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano

Hot chilli sauce/ chilli powder to your taste (I used 1 teaspoon of Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce, then added some more at the end of the cooking time as we like it hot)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions and bacon over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are softened. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Set this mixture aside.

In the same frying pan brown the minced beef, stirring it with a spoon to break it up, for about 5 minutes. All the pink bits should be gone.

Transfer the mince to a large saucepan. 

Add the onions, bacon and garlic.

Stir in the tomatoes in their juice, the beef stock, the oregano, tomato puree, a dash of the hot chilli sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer gently on a low heat with the lid on for about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. It should be thick but still moist.

Add the red kidney beans and continue to cook, again with the lid on, over a low heat for 10 more minutes.

Adjust the seasoning at this stage. You may want to add more chilli sauce as well as more salt and pepper.

To serve put tortilla chips in large bowls and spoon over the Chilli Con Carne. Top with lots of grated cheddar cheese and spoonfuls of sour cream. Or simply serve with some boiled rice.



Friday, 21 June 2013

Blue Cheese and Walnut Pastry Nibbles

We went to a drinks and nibbles party at the Auckland Zoo last night so I created these little savoury pastry roll ups. So good!
(Multiply as many times as you like depending on numbers). Each sheet will make about 20 .
1 sheet of flaky puff pastry ( I used Edmond's reduced fat flaky puff pastry)
1/2 cup of walnuts
50 grams of blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 200C
Defrost the flaky puff pastry sheet ( This will only take a few minutes)
Crush the walnuts inside a plastic bag by bashing them with a rolling pin.
Crumble the blue cheese.
Mix cheese and walnuts together in a bowl. Spread them over the pastry sheet.
Press down on them with your hand to make them stick. 
Roll the pastry up tightly and pinch the edges together well ( use a little water to stick them together if necessary)
Cut the roll into 1/2 cm slices with a very sharp knife.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes till golden brown ( watch towards the end as theycan burn easily)
Nicest served warm but still good when they have cooled down.


Hearty Cheese and Courgette Slice

This is a the kind of hale and hearty savoury slice which will warm you up and stick to your ribs in this wintery weather. And it's totally vegetarian.

2 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
100 grams of butter ( straight out of the fridge)
150 grams of grated Cheddar Cheese
3 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
2 zucchini (grated)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
2/3 cup of milk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
Put the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a food processor.
Add the butter,
Whizz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Put it into a large bowl
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs , milk and chilli sauce  together
Pour this over the dry mixture .
Add the grated courgettes and chopped parsley to the bowl.
Stir until everything is  just combined.
Spread the mixture into a baking paper lined oven dish (20 cm by 30 cm) 
Bake for about 25 minutes until the slice is golden brown and cooked ( test by poking a toothpick in, it should come out clean)

Serve with sweet chilli sauce  and a small mesclun salad.


Hot Chilli Chocolate


Heat up your day with a cup of hot chilli chocolate. It's so good!

To make it ( for each person) brew up a cup of a good drinking chocolate ( I use Kokako which  has a pure and intense flavour and is both organic and Fair Trade.
Then drop in a square or two of dark chocolate and a splash of chilli sauce ( I used Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce) and stir until the chocolate has melted.
Reheat for a few seconds if necessary.



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Hot Cakes


Here's a family recipe from Jacob who makes these delicious hot cakes  every Sunday morning . They are a perfect with bananas, bacon and maple syrup. I love the way he so stylishly arranges them on a plate.
 1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk
Sift the dry ingredients- mix in the wet ingredients
Make a smooth batter (it makes a nicer batter if you separate the eggs and whites, whip the whites and add them last.)
Serve in a stack with bacon, bananas, maple syrup or fruit salad with whipped cream /yoghurt
Or you can simply serve them with lemon and sugar.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Crunchy Anzac Muesli

Full of rolled oats, coconut and lightly sweetened with golden syrup my latest batch of crunchy muesli was inspired by Anzac biscuits. This muesli will kick start your day and keep you fighting fit.
When I served this to a close relation of mine (who shall remain anonymous) for breakfast he said it made him feel as if he had just come out of the trenches in Gallipoli. Nevertheless he happily polished off a bowl full of it.


4 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of coconut
3 tablespoons of golden syrup
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of water/milk
A handful of raisins

Put all ingredients except the raisins into a large bowl and mix well.
Spread out in a large baking dish.
Bake at 150 degrees C for about 45-60 minutes until just starting to turn golden brown. Keep an eye on it while it is baking and stir from time to time.
When it is done, add the raisins.

Later in the week, after I hopped on the scales I made a skinny version. It still tasted good, well maybe not quite as good but for the sake of good health it's a responsible alternative.


4 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of coconut
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
25 grams of butter

Mix well and spread out in a large baking dish. Bake at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes. Stir from time to time and check towards the end to make sure it is not browning too much.
Toss in a  handful of dried blueberries
Serve with trim milk/skinny yoghurt.

Spicy Olives


Go on, do it! Warm the cockles of your hearts with these hot and spicy Samoan Boys Chilli olives. Perfect to nibble on with a glass of wine.
1 cup of olives ( mixed black and green)

3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
1 strip of orange peel (no pith) cut into small slivers
1 teaspoon of roasted and ground coriander seeds
Hot Samoan Boys Chilli sauce to taste ( start with a few drops, then turn up the heat as much as you like)


Rinse the olives and drain.
Mix with the other ingredients.
Cook in a fry pan over a low heat for about 5 minutes, until the olives are thoroughly warmed.
Leave to stand in the fry pan for a few minutes so the flavours infuse the olives.
Serve warm .
They can be prepared to this stage and reheated .





Simply Hummous


This hummous is light and  citrussy. A splash  of Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce is the secret ingredient. It gives it a fiery little kick.
Served with triangles of toasted pita bread or crackers, it makes a healthy snack.
For a skinnier dip don't dribble it with olive oil. It will still taste good.
And it will happily keep in the fridge for a few days.


1 can of chickpeas ( 400 grams)
1 clove of garlic (peeled and smashed)
3 tablespoons of tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 orange
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
a good dash of Hot Samoan Boys Chilli Sauce
a drizzle of olive oil


Drain the chickpeas
Reserve the liquid
In a food processor put the chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid, and all the other ingredients except the olive oil.
Whizz till smooth.
If the mixture is too thick thin it down by adding a  little more of the reserved liquid.
Then adjust the seasoning and  if you like more fire, increase the amount of Hot Samoan Boys Chilli  sauce.

Put in a bowl and drizzle some olive oil over the top before serving with toasted triangles of pita bread.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Autumn Harvest Brown Rice Salad from Ripe Recipes-A Fresh Batch

I had the pleasure of reviewing the new cookbook from Ripe Deli recently for The Breeze Auckland radio station website and this was one of many delicious recipes I cooked from it.

From Ripe Recipes - A Fresh Batch, a combination of roasted root vegetables, walnuts, spinach and feta cheese, flavoured with orange and fennel. Its vibrant autumn colours looked stunning on a large platter.


Serves 8-10

1 cup (200g) BROWN RICE
2 CARROTS, peeled, chopped chunky
1 large ORANGE KUMARA, chopped chunky
¼ (700g) CROWN PUMPKIN, chopped chunky
2 RED ONIONS, peeled, chopped chunky
2 tbsp soft BROWN SUGAR
2 tbsp OLIVE OIL
1 tsp SALT
1 cup (120g) WALNUTS, roughly chopped
1 cup (40g) FRESH ITALIAN PARSLEY, roughly chopped
1 cup (40g) BABY SPINACH


1 tsp soft BROWN SUGAR
¼ cup (60ml) OLIVE OIL
A pinch of SALT


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Grease and line a large high-sided baking tray with baking paper.

3. Cook the brown rice (see pg 250).

4. In the prepared tray, place the carrots, kumara, pumpkin and red onion.

5. In a small bowl, place the orange zest and juice, fennel seeds, brown sugar, olive oil and salt. Mix well. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat.

6. Bake for 30 minutes. Add the walnuts and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the walnuts are toasted and vegetables are cooked through.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To prepare the dressing:

1. place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well.

2. In a large mixing bowl, place the roasted vegetables and walnuts; add the rice, feta, parsley and spinach. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, gently toss to mix through.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ripe Recipes-a fresh batch by Angela Redfern
$60 including NZ postage.
Available from:


Ripe Recipes-A Fresh Batch cookbook review

When Angela Redfern took time out to have her first baby she also hatched "Ripe Recipes - A Fresh Batch.”
Customers had been begging for a sequel to the first Ripe recipe book from the popular Grey Lynn deli, known for its salads, take-away dinners and scrumptious cakes. Now they’ll be able to recreate more of their favourites at home.
It was a labour of love and a team effort.
“Making cookbooks really brings out the best in my staff. It keeps them motivated, innovative and creative in our quest to bring healthy, tasty food to the table.” said Angela.
The recipes are arranged to suit different occasions such as finger foods, lunches and soups, deli dinners, puddings, Mexican food and Friday Pie Day.
At Ripe they see food as the best medicine. Little “nutrition bites,” have been added to each page by local nutritionist Nellie Pigot.
I’ve been cooking up a storm from this recipe book much to my family’s delight. Some of our favourites so far:
Autumn Harvest Brown Rice: A combination of roasted root vegetables, walnuts, spinach and feta cheese, flavoured with orange and fennel. Its vibrant autumn colours looked stunning on a large platter.
Big Fat Eggplant and Chickpea salad dressed with pomegranate molasses, hazelnut and lemon juice.

Deli Dinners:

Bob's Lentil, Silverbeet and Mushroom pie: a lightly spiced vegetarian shepherd's pie with lentils, mushrooms, and silverbeet topped with mashed potato and kumara. This was real comfort food for a meatless Monday dinner.
Macaroni Cheese: A creative spin on an old favourite, laced with baby spinach and topped with a crispy crumbs. We’re looking forward to trying the adult version as well made with artichokes and blue cheese.
Cashew and Honey Crusted Pork Fillet: fillets of pork marinated, and then crumbed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, fresh coriander and cashew nuts. This was elegant and took some time but not difficult to put together. Perfect for when friends are coming to dinner.


The Fejoa and Ginger Layer Cake: Yes, it’s laden with sugar and calories but after so much healthy food a little decadence is surely allowed! This scrumptious cake was moist and packed full of feijoas, crushed pineapple and walnuts interlaced with a rich gingery cream cheese icing.
“Ripe Recipes- a fresh batch,” has already become one of my most used recipe books. Their recipes are great for the taste buds.

Ripe Recipes-a fresh batch by Angela Redfern
$60 including NZ postage.
Available from:

My review first appeared on The Breeze Auckland Radio station website

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Broccoli and Quark Pasta

A packet of spinach and cheese tortellini , some herb quark cheese and a head of broccoli started me thinking about a quick vegetarian pasta dish.  Here's what it turned into:
300 grams of spinach and cheese tortellini
1 large head of broccoli ( broken into florets)
1 onion (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of Hohepa herb quark cheese
A dash of hot chilli sauce ( I used Hot Samoan Boys chilli sauce)
Some chopped parsley
Bring some water to the boil and add the tortellini. Follow the instructions on the packet for the correct cooking time to the al dente stage. Mine took 7 minutes.
For the last minute or two of cooking time add the broccoli florets.
In the meantime heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frypan.
Gently fry the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes until the onion is starting to soften.
Add the red pepper and fry for a couple more minutes.
Drain the tortellini and the broccoli. Add the contents of the fry pan, three tablespoons of the quark and a dash of Hot Samoan Boys chilli sauce ( a bit of heat really lifts this dish)
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Garnish with chopped parsley.
Serve at once.
Quark is still an unfamiliar item in many kiwi kitchens, although popular in Europe. The Hohepa biodynamic quark is really nice, especially their award winning herb quark. But if you can't find this plain quark should be fine, just add a few finely chopped fresh garden herbs, or some chopped basil.
Quark could also be replaced in this pasta dish by creme fraiche.
 Food Photography Notes: I took off my long winter scarf for just long enough to wrap round this dish and take a quick pic.

Monday, 10 June 2013

A Roasted Vegetable Soup to celebrate Matariki

Celebrate Matariki, the Maori harvest festival, with this mellow roast vegetable soup, made with kumara, pumpkin, and carrots. Invite the whanau over and enjoy steaming hot bowls of it with some garlic bread or some rawene.
Roasting the vegetables intensifies their flavour , The cream is optional but  enriches this soup and for a special occasion I wouldn't leave it out.
The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled depending on numbers.
It is similar to the root vegetable soup I posted last weekend but I think that roasting the vegetables has made a significant difference. And for a roasted vegetable soup I have used an onion rather than a leek.


200 grams of peeled and cubed kumara
200 grams of peeled and cubed potato
200 grams of peeled and cubed carrot
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion , chopped
1 whole clove of garlic
900 ml of chicken/vegetable stock
100 ml of cream
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Coriander/parsley to garnish


Heat the oven to 200 degrees C
Toss the vegetables and garlic together, then spread out in a single layer in a baking dish.
Bake for about 20 minutes until they are done.
Squeeze the garlic out of its skin.
Put the vegetables and garlic into a large saucepan and add the stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Swirl in the cream, do not let it boil again.
Use a stick mixture to make a smooth soup.
Season to taste with pepper and salt.
Serve in bowls with a garnish of chopped coriander leaves or parsley


Add a teaspoon each of toasted and ground coriander and cumin
And/or the grated rind of half an orange

or once in bowls grate some cheese over the top


Matariki with Charles Royal


Charles Royal, well known Maori Chef, sees Matariki as “the time when the sap runs, and a good time to plant and transplant any plants that need to be attended to before the growing season”.
A Feast is always part of it. But although Charles is passionate about food he feels that Matariki is more about people getting together than about what you put on the table.
“I think any food goes with Matariki. To me it’s more about celebrating and sharing our past, remembering the ones that have passed before us and allowing that knowledge from our ancestors to be re-lived which could easily be lost with modern technology and convenience at the helm.”
His plan for Matariki this coming weekend is to have a pool party with some of his friends at a local ngawa (hot mineral pool).
“We’ll be starting at 8 pm and we’ll be around the fire with drums drumming, guitars playing, singing and eating and talking about the Matariki Star Constellation. That is if the weather is fine!”
Charles will be taking along a selection of canap├ęs with kawakawa and lime jellies as the cleanser before the pot luck dinner starts. Then they’ll share what everyone brings.
For inspiration on what to serve for a celebratory Matariki feast I delved into his new book.
Cooking With Charles Royal is more than a collection of recipes. He takes readers on a fascinating culinary journey in which he teaches them to identify and gather New Zealand native plants and herbs such as kawakawa, pikopiko, wild bush mushrooms and ferns in the bush. And once they are harvested how to use these to create dishes with a contemporary twist.
Some of his whanau’s best loved homely recipes such as his Nanny Hine’s Rewena bread, his Aunty Tangi’s Paraoa Parai (fried bread) and his Nanny Cinny’s Boiled Pudding are also divulged.
Many of the recipes in this book make use of Kinaki dried herbs and rubs which were developed by Charles and his wife Tania as a result of their interest in the Slow Foods movement and experiments done with native plants.
I chose the Halloumi and Wild Salad Mix for the starter. For this Halloumi is tossed in flour and Kinaki 3 Pepper Spice, teamed with a salad made from watercress sprouts, baby puha and rocket leaves and dressed with horopito-infused balsamic vinaigrette.
The Horopito rack of New Zealand lamb would make a flavorsome but elegant main. The rack is sprinkled with horopito pepper before roasting. Steamed kumara and Maori potato wedges are put into the roasting pan while the lamb is resting. Some wilted New Zealand spinach would go well alongside.
For dessert I’d serve the sticky kawakawa meringues alongside a platter of seasonal fruits such as persimmons, kiwifruit, tamarillos and mandarins) and lashings of whipped cream.
We’re city dwellers so won’t be able to harvest piko piko ferns and supplejack vines from the bush. But these ingredients are optional. I’ll use what we do have and the food will still taste good. In any case, as Charles would agree at Matariki time above all it’s the company which counts.
Cooking with Charles Royal
By Charles Royal and Jenny Kaka Scott
Huia Publishers
RRP $45.00


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Winter Salad: Red Cabbage, Carrot, Orange and Date


I was inspired by a recipe from River Cottage Veg Every Day to make this salad .Well, to be honest  I copied it almost exactly, except for the parsnip.  It's a healthy vegetable, but its colour is so insipid and it's slightly bitter.  
I exchanged it for toasted sunflower seeds before I photographed it. Seduced by the vibrant colours I couldn't wait to have some of this salad for lunch.

Later  we had the leftovers for dinner I had to stretch them out to feed two of us so added some blanched carrot batons. I'll do that again next time.

  • ¼ red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 large oranges, peeled with a knife and segmented, avoiding the membrane and reserving the juice
  • 3 medjool dates, stoned and cut into 3-4 pieces across ways
  • A few tablespoons of toasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • carrot batons made from 2 carrots (optional)


  1. Spread the red cabbage evenly over a plate, top with a scattering of carrot batons (blanched)  slices of orange, the dates and several tablespoons of toasted sunflower seeds)
  2. Pour over the reserved orange juice, drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle over the thyme, finish with salt and pepper.
River Cottage Veg Every Day
Recipe adapted from River Cottage Veg Every Day

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Root Vegetable Soup

This basic soup is cheap and sustaining winter comfort food. I made it at the end of the week to use up a piece of pumpkin,  two small kumara and couple of carrots that didn't quite make it to the dinner table.
Personally I think leek gives a more mellow flavour than onion here, but an onion will do at a pinch.
This, and some crackers and cheese/ a toasted cheese sandwich and a piece of fruit is my  "I'm over cooking a proper Sunday dinner" meal. Best eaten with family /friends by a warm fire in front of TV,


1 leek (white part only)
1 clove of garlic ( smashed)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
200 grams of pumpkin
200 grams of orange kumara
200 grams of  carrots
1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds toasted and ground
Salt and pepper to taste
Coriander or Parsley leaves to garnish


Slice the white part of the leek
Peel and cube all the vegetables
Over a moderate heat, in a large frypan melt the butter and olive oil and fry the leek for a few minutes until soft
Add the garlic and coriander and continue frying for another minute or so
Add all the root vegetables and fry gently for 4-5 minutes until they are heated through.
Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of flour over the top and toss this through the vegetable mixture with a large spoon . Then fry for another minute.
Add the stock and bring to the boil
Simmer for 20-30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
Leave the soup to cool for a few minutes before using a stick mixer to make it smooth.
Adjust the seasoning.
Reheat to piping hot.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley or coriander.


Broccoli Salad

For this winter salad I tossed some broccoli florets, cubes of Puhoi peppered Havarti, roasted and salted cashew nuts and seedless green grapes together. I dressed it with white balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil and tasted  before seasoning. As the cashews were salted, and the Puhoi Havarti was peppered it didn't need much. It was crunchy, salty and sweet and just right for lunch.
Although the broccoli can be left raw I prefer to blanch it, or microwave it in a lidded container with a couple of tablespoons of water for 3 minutes to soften both the texture and the flavour. Left raw, it can be a little too assertive for our taste.



Thursday, 6 June 2013

Easy mix Yoghurt and Lemon Curd Cake

This is one of those easy cakes you can just mix in a bowl with a fork.

When Rachel brought me a jar of Aunty Von's lemon curd I played with it and added some to this easy yoghurt and lemon cake .

I dropped blobs of it onto the cake batter and hoped that this would rise up around them, and it did.
Served warm with thick Greek yoghurt it makes a tangy comforting winter dessert, or you could leave it to cool and have some with a coffee later.


2 eggs
1 cup of whole milk yoghurt
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
3/4 cup of castor sugar
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
a good pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
the grated rind of a lemon
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 -1/ 2 cup of lemon curd (I used Aunty Von's)


Preheat the oven to 180 C
In a large mixing bowl gently combine the yoghurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and rum
In another bowl , sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt
Add the flour mixture into the yoghurt mixture, and whisk together with a fork until just mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin ( I used a silicone one and very lightly oiled it)
Put blobs of lemon curd all around (about 10 teaspoonfuls)
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean
Let stand for 10 minutes before transferring onto a cake rack to cool
Dust with icing sugar before serving with thick Greek yoghurt


Monday, 3 June 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Snails


"Baking can be a bit like a painting, if you  make a mistake you can often cover it up with icing or rename it,"  I said to  Becky when her cinnamon sugar swirls unfurled in the oven. Just call them snails.

She had  booked in a baking session with me to make something nice to take for a shared lunch at school. These crisp and sweet little morsels are so esay that a 10 year old can make them herself.

We used all the 5 sheets in an "Edmond's Sure to Rise Flaky," pastry packet. This made several dozen. More than enough for kids to snack on for afternoon tea as well as having plenty to take to school the next day. You can make less of course.

For the filling start with 3 tablespoons of melted butter, and a mixture of 2/3 cup of castor sugar and 3 tablespoons of cinnamon. If these run out just mix up more but keep the same sugar-cinnamon proportions.

The glaze makes them shiny.


A packet of Edmond's Sure to Rise Flaky pastry (5 sheets)
2/3 cup of castor sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of melted butter (melted in the microwave)

The Filling ( for 2 sheets)

2/3 cup of castor sugar
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

1 egg lightly beaten with a fork, mixed with 2 tablespoon of water


Preheat the  oven to 180 degrees
Peel off each sheet but leave it on its plastic backing.
Brush it all over with melted butter, using a pastry brush
Sprinkle a layer of cinnamon sugar over , leaving a 2 cm border at one end.
Press the sugar and cinnamon mixture on with your hand.
Brush the border with water.
Roll the pastry into a cylinder  and press the edge to seal the seam
Cut into slices (3/4 cm thick) with a sharp knife
Line oven trays with baking paper.
Arange the snails on them a little distance apart
Use a pastry brush to brush with the glaze.
Bake at 180 degrees C 12-14 minutes until they are golden brown.
Lift with a spatula and cool on a rack.
Serve while hot, or store in a tin for a day or two when cool.