Thursday, 1 September 2016

Bill Granger's Thai Fishcakes

On our beach walks in the morning with Abby the lab I can't resist picking up empty scallop shells which have been washed up on the sand . They make perfect  miniature individual serving dishes for Bill Granger's Thai fish cakes.

Served on a platter, with a bowl of creme fraiche (to which a dab of wasabi paste has been added) and thinly sliced cucumber briefly marinated in sushi vinegar, they make great finger food.


500 gm of boneless, skinless firm white fish , roughly chopped (hoki will do)
3 tbsp of red curry paste (Vacom brand is the best )
1 tsp of white sugar
2 tbsp of fish sauce
6 kaffir lime leaves ( very finely sliced) or zest of 2 limes
60 gm of snake/green beans( very thinly sliced)
4 tbsp of light flavoured oil
cucumber relish ( see recipe below)


Blend the fish in a food processor until smooth, scraping the sides down once or twice. Add the curry paste and pulse with the sugar, fish sauce and lime leaves.

Scrape into a large bowl, add the snake beans and stir to combine. Take a handful of the mixture and throw against the side of the bowl to firm up the proteins, repeating a few time until the mixture is noticeably firmer.

With moistened hands, form slightly heaped  tablespoons of the mixture into discs. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat  and fry in batches until browned and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot with the cucumber relish.

For those who like it hot you could have some some Hot Samoan Boys chilli sauce on hand as well.
Makes 24.

Bill 's Cucumber relish
1/2 cup of rice vinegar or white vinegar
1/2 cup pofcastor sugar
1 Lebanese cucumber , quartered lengthwise and finely sliced
1/2 tablespoon of finely julienned ginger
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

Place the vinegar and sugar n a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool. Pour into a bowl, add the cucmber and chilli and stir to combine

My shortcut: Just finely slice 1/2 a telegraph cucumber and marinate it briefly in sushi vinegar. Optional: add some finely sliced red chili

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Butternut and Pumpkin Soup with Brazil Almond Butter and Miso

This mellow autumnal soup is enhanced by some brazil almond butter and white miso.

Kashmiri chili powder provides a gentle heat. Beware of substituting it with other chili powder, you would need much less!

The crunchy savoury Purebread wild oats muesli sprinkle is optional but adds a little oomph!

Ingredients for Soup:

500 g of butternut ( cubed but not peeled)
500g of kumara (peeled and chopped)
1 teaspoon of kashmiri chili powder( or to taste)
1/2 leek (finely sliced)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
400 ml of chicken stock ( I used Campbell's salt reduced)
1 small can of coconut milk ( 165 ml)
1 tbsp of white miso
1 tbsp of brazil almond butter ( I used Purebread)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
Toss the kumara and butternut in a mixture of olive oil and kashmiri chili powder
Roast  in a single layer in an oven dish for about 20 minutes until soft and browned
In the meantime fry the leek and garlic gently for about 10-15 minutes until soft
Pour over the chicken stock and cook for about another 5 minutes
Add the pumkin and kumara and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Add more chicken stock if necessary.
Mix the white miso and brazil almond butter together
Put the soup in the blender with the light coconut milk, and th enmiso  and brazill nut butter mixture
Whizz till smooth
Add more chicken stock till the desired consistency is reached

Nice with a savoury walnut and muesli sprinkle

savoury sprinkle:
Toast briefly in a frypan:
1/4 cup of purebread wild oats muesli,
 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon red  Chipotle salt ( I used Tio Pablo)

Tio Pablo Red Chilpotle salt is another favourite of mine. This complex spicy Mexican salty condiment includes such ingredients as chilpotle, annatto seed, coriander. lime and juniper berries

Wonton Soup


Making wonton soup together is a great way to keep grandchildren and grandparents happily occupied for a few hours in the holidays!
The recipe comes from Simon and Alison Holst’s latest cookbook: Everyday Easy 100 Soup Recipes.
This large collection of Holst family favourites was gathered over many years. Included are golden oldies like Grandma’s farmhouse soup which used to simmer away on the back of a wood burning stove (but is easier and just as tasty made in a slow cooker today) as well as new ones which show the influence of Asian cuisine on our soup kitchen. Some come in multiple versions. There are five recipes for pumpkin, seven for lentil and eight bean soup recipes.
We took a shortcut when making this soup as there were a lot of other activities we wanted to pack into the week with our granddaughters. So we used a good quality bought chicken stock instead of making our own.
Mastering the art of filling and shaping the wontons wasn’t too difficult.  We soon got into a rhythm and filled a baking paper lined tray ready to lower them gently into the flavoured stock.
A good thing about this soup is that it can easily be adapted to different tastes. Our granddaughters all have some vegetables they like and some they hate. We finished up pleasing everyone by using just broccoli and mushrooms.
The end result was bowls of tasty soup filled to the brim with wontons and vegetables, such a healthy and tasty lunch!
Everyday Easy 100 Soup Recipes will be well used at our house this winter. Our granddaughters have already picked out the soups they want to try next. And that’s fine with me as you can always rely on a Holst recipe to be family friendly, reliable, inexpensive and tasty.
Wonton Soup
Reproduced from Everyday Easy 100 Soup Recipes by Simon & Alison Holst, published by Hyndman Publishing, RRP$34.99, available nationwide
This soup was very popular with several generations of our family. For a real treat, we would buy the wonton wrappers at a specialty Asian food store (now you can get them at most supermarkets!) then make the soup together.
For 4 large main or 8 starter servings:
4 cups cold chicken stock (homemade recipe attached)
2 cups prepared vegetables (e.g. mushrooms, bean sprouts, spring onions, small spinach leaves, snow peas)
4 cups water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sherry
½ tsp salt
32 wonton wrappers
Wonton Filling:
250g pork or beef mince
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp salt
4 spring onions, chopped

Put the chicken stock and thinly sliced vegetables in a large pot and set aside.
In a large frying pan, heat the water, soy sauce, sherry and salt until simmering.
To make the filling, mix all the filling ingredients, then divide into 32 small portions, as evenly as possible (cut mixture into 4, then 8, then 16, then 32).
Place a portion of filling in the centre of a wrapper then fold in half diagonally to form a triangle. Dampen one folded corner with water.
Hold folded corners between thumbs and forefingers. With one middle finger, press filled area gently so the dampened corner can be brought towards then under the other folded corner. Pinch together firmly.
After you have made 4–6 wontons, drop them gently into the boiling liquid in the frying pan, jiggling the pan so they do not stick to each other or the pan.
Cook for 5 minutes after liquid returns to the boil. Lift each, with a slotted spoon, into cold chicken stock when cooked. Prepare and cook the rest of the wontons, then pour the remaining liquid from the frying pan into the pot.
To serve, heat carefully until the wontons have just heated through, then ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves, if desired.
Chicken Stock
Freeze raw chicken trimmings and giblets (except livers which make bitter stock) in a bag in the freezer, adding to the bag until it is full. Alone, or with fresh chicken backs bought specially, they make good stock, as long as other flavourings are added.
For 8 cups:
about 1kg raw chicken bones, chicken backs, skin, giblets, feet, etc
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2–3 bay leaves
about 12 peppercorns
4 whole cloves
12 cups (3 litres) water
1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Simmer chicken with everything except the salt and pepper in a very large pot for 3 hours.
Strain through a sieve and discard the solids. Skim off and discard the fat from the surface.
Season to taste and refrigerate for up to 2–3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Chicken Bones Stock
The skeleton and other remains of roast, barbecued, grilled or baked chicken may be used to make useful, small amounts of good stock. Start cooking the stock while you do the dishes, while you still have the bones, drippings and vegetable trimmings from dinner close at hand.
For 2–4 cups:
cooked carcass, chicken bones, giblets, skin, fat, etc
1–2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 carrot
1 onion
1 stalk celery, optional
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp salt
6 peppercorns (or 1 dried chilli)
water to cover
Put all the chicken remains in a fairly large pot, with any cooking juices scraped from the original cooking pan, and any suitable vegetable trimmings.
Add the ingredients listed, cover and simmer for about 2 hours.
Strain off stock and refrigerate for short storage or freeze in covered containers for up to 6 months.
Reproduced from Everyday Easy 100 Soup Recipes by Simon & Alison Holst, published by Hyndman Publishing, RRP$34.99, available nationwide

Review By Lyn Potter. 

This review was written for the GrownUps website and and may also be viewed there at


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Susie's Chocolate Cupcakes

My granddaughter Susie created these amazing chocolate cupcakes, She decorated them with a swirl of buttercream icing flavoured and coloured bright pink with Fresh As freeze dried strawberry powder.

The chocolate flowers were a decorative finishing touch. To make them she sprinkled some of the powder into miniature flower shaped chocolate molds before pouring in the chocolate.

This was such a great holiday project and much appreciated  by all of us who got to taste one!

Fresh As freeze dried strawberry dried powders are all natural, and give icing a lovely fruity flavour, so good for children to use in their holiday baking.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Three Spicy Tortillas

It's been a pleasure to try Tio Pablo's  three new tortilla flavours: red jalapeno, green jalapeno and red chilpotle. 
I  let my imagination roam and created these tasty  recipes with them . Each one makes a great little breakfast or brunch.
I like to serve them on a plate with the topping spooned in the middle. You can then choose to eat them with a knife and fork but it's more fun to fold them over and eat them in your hand (with a stack of paper towels or serviettes handy)
Before adding the topping I heated each tortilla on both sides in a hot frying pan.
Dribbling a flavoured oil the tortillas before or after adding the topping was my daughter Kate's idea. I agree, it makes them more moist and flavoursome.

New Wave Scrambled Egg tortilla:

For this I warmed a Tio Pablo Red Chilpotle tortilla for about 30 seconds on each side in a hot frypan.
I sprinkled it with macademia oil
Then I topped it with scrambled egg and added a garnish of finely chopped sundried tomatoes,
 coriander and flat leaved parsley
The finishing touch :a sprinkle of Tio Pablo Red Chilpotle salt.

Spicy Pumpkin on a Tio Pablo red jalapeno tortilla

For this I mashed some pumpkin with finely grated ginger, smashed garlic, a splash of cream and freshly ground Himalayan rock salt and spread this mash generously onto a warmed Tio Pablo red jalapeno tortilla. Then garnished it with shredded parmesan,  chopped coriander and parsley. A sprinkle of Tio Pable red chilpotle salt was added before a final drizzle of macademia oil.

Spicy Mushroom Tortilla

This was my favourite. To make it I fried some portobello mushrooms and crushed garlic in a little butter and heaped these onto a Tio Pable green jalapeno tortilla. I drizzled over some hazelnut oil ( which I think really complimented the earthy flavour of the mushrooms) . Then added plenty of shredded parmesan, and a  garnish of coriander and flat leaved parsley.

Colour me Red: Rhubarb and Apple Compote

As we all know there is more to food than taste, appearance can make all the difference.

Yesterday I stewed some rhubarb and apples in a little pineapple juice with just enough sugar to take away the tartness. After letting it cool a little  I whizzed it in my blender to make a smooth compote. It tasted great but it was an unappetising brown colour. 

Could I fix it? I had an idea.

While still warm I added a teaspoonful of Fresh As freeze dried beetroot powder and it turned a fetching pink, then a little more and now it was a soft cerise red, just gorgeous.
It didn't spoil the flavour at all, If anything it enhanced it.   

Lovely with orange juice//pear juice as well.
When I  whizzed my compote in a nutri bullet it became super smooth. 
And when I roasted the rhubarb and apples with a little orange juice and brown sugar there was very little liquid and the resulting compote was thick enough to use as a coulis with some chocolate brownies, some vanilla icecream and a wild berry sorbet.So decorative!

apple  peeled and sliced/cubed
pineapple juice
a little brown sugar
stew till softened rhubarb and apple
put in nutibullet
unappetising brown colour
added some Fresh As freeze dried beetroot powder
A gorgeous pinish red colour

Monday, 27 June 2016

Rocket, kumara, feta and walnut salad with a ruby red dressing

A great salad to serve at this time of year when kumara are plentiful.
The Fresh As freeze dried beetroot powder gave this dressing its gorgeous ruby red colour.
I had roasted some kumara the previous day and saved some to make this salad.

Blend :
6 tbsp of macadamia oil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
juice of 1/2 mandarin
1 teaspoon of Fresh As Freeze Dried beetroot powder

Add salt to taste.

Arrange rocket leaves. feta. chunks of roasted kumara and walnuts in a shallow serving bowl.
Dribble over the dressing.

Variation: Add slices of orange or mandarin segments.
and/or add chunks of roasted beetroot

or if you would like a sweeter dressing substitute the balsamic vinegar 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Thai Mushroom Broth with Freeze Dried Herbs

A bowlful of steaming mushroom broth can be quickly made with Fresh As freeze dried herbs and a good chicken stock.Tasty on its own but all the better with the addition of  thinly sliced pieces of left over roast pork.
I love it moderately hot but if you dislike a slightly burning sensation add a little less chilly powder,
And you can play with the balance of the flavours by adding more or less of any of the freeze dried powders.The first time I made it I added only 1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried kaffir lime powder but wanting this flavour to be stronger I stirred in another 1/2 teaspoon at the end which gave it a more distinctive lime flavour.
I imagine that a vegetarian option using vegetables stock and adding small cubes of firm tofu towards the end would work well. And a more substantial broth could be made with the addition of rice noodles.

1-2 tbspn of vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
1/2 teaspoon Fresh As freeze dried lemongrass powder
1 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried kaffir lime powder
1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried chilly powder.
200 gm of brown mushrooms (finely sliced)
1 tablespoon of soy/tamari sauce
3 cups of chicken stock.
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.
A squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes over a moderately high heat.
Add the Fresh As freeze dried  powders and fry for another minute, tossing and stirring as you go.
Add the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. ( If the liquid reduces too much add a little more stock)
Stir in the soy/tamari sauce.
Season the broth  to taste.
A squeeze of lime juice is good but optional.
Add in the slices of roast pork.
Serve while piping hot sprinkled generously with fresh coriander.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Cheesy Mite Scrolls

As I was leafing through 'The Marist Kitchen" a great little cookbook from the Marist Catholic School in Herne Bay, I thought of my great friend Hilary Hall who used to teach there and the wonderful art the students created with her. She would have loved this book and all the effort that went into creating it,

Scattered throughout are lots of photographs of the students tucking happily into the recipes contributed by their families. Lots to choose from but one stood out: The Cheesy Mite Scrolls . Our granddaughters are going to love getting into the kitchen and trying their hand at them.

And if Grandparents want a treat of their own they can easily divide this recipe into thirds .

Cheesy Mite Scrolls come from the Quesnel family and the recipe was passed on from Luc's Grandma.

Marist kids are rugby kids and these are a great favourite after a rippa rugby game. "Twice as delicious as the ones you buy in the local bread shop and brimming full of melted cheese," they write.

Cheesy Mite Scrolls

3 cups of flour
6 tsp of baking powder ( yes, this is correct even if it seems like a lot)
1/4 teaspoon if salt
75 gm of cold butter
11/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup more or less of grated cheese (or a combination of cheeses you like)
Marmite or Vegemite
extra grated cheese for the top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C and place baking paper on an oven tray
Add the flour, baking paper and salt to a food processor and process for 1 minute to sift the dry ingredients together

Add the butter and process for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture is crumbly.
With the processor running add the milk and briefly mix together ( do not over mix)
Remove the mixture and knead it into a dough.
Roll the dough into a rectangular shape about 3 cm thick, using a little flour to avoid sticking.

Scoop the vegemite or marmite onto the dough and spread it out thinly.
Sprinkle the dough with the cheese and then roll the dough, from the long side, into a tube. Use a little water to stick the edge to the tube.

Cut it into 2-3 cm slices on the baking tray and sprinkle with a little extra cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until they are golden and the melted cheese is bubbling.
They are crispier if left for a minute or two more but be careful not to burn them. Remove from the oven, leave them to cool slightly, then enjoy!

Hints and Tips:
Roll the dough out onto gladwrap so it doesn't stick, makes clean-up a breeze.
They taste better straight from the oven but if you have any left over they are good the next day or even frozen and saved for school lunches.
They can also be heated straight from the freezer.  Put a frozen scroll on a paper towel and microwave on high for about 40 seconds

Make or buy a thick custard and spread all over the dough with a little cinnamon for a sweet treat.

Simply Persimmon Fruit Salad

This little persimmon fruit salad is so simple but very good to serve with muesli and yoghurt for breakfast. To make it I simply peeled and diced two persimmons, added the juice of a lime and 1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried lemongrass powder. The lemon grass gives it a subtle Asian flavour.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Skordalia with a Japanese Twist

We used to make skordalia in the sixties and I think it deserves a revival!

I added some white miso and rice vinegar so giving this traditional Greek recipe a Japanese twist. The white miso is lighter and sweeter in taste and texture than brown miso so won't overwhelm the other flavours in this recipe.

It's great as a dip or simply slather it on hot toast,

I like using Purebread spelt bread in this recipe as, apart from being healthy and easily digestible. it dissolves readily in water


2-3 slices of Purebread Spelt bread
1/2 cup of walnuts
3 cloves of garlic 
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
the juice of 1/2 lemon or a little more to taste
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of white miso
a little water to reduce to the desired consistency if necessary 
chopped flat leaf parsley and Greek olives to garnish


Soak bread for about 2 minutes , then squeeze to remove excess liquid
Whizz in foodprocessor with walnuts and peeled and finely chopped garlic to create a paste
Add lemon juice, rice vinegar, miso and salt and blend again
Add the olive oil
If necessary add a little water to create the right dipping consistency
Put in a bowl and garnish with chopped flat leaved parsley and Greek olives
Serve with celery, carrot and red pepper strips for dipping

Fresh As Freeze Dried Coriander and Broccoli Couscous

Adding broccoli crumbs and Fresh As freeze dried herbs and spices added  flavour and goodness to this speedy couscous which I created last night. 

The flavours of Fresh As freeze dried dried herbs and spices are quite intense and a little goes a long way so I would start with the quantities suggested and add more to taste.
Using chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water, if you have some at hand, would also give a deeper flavour.
You could add some toasted walnuts as well.
Yo can also substitute hazelnut for olive oil which is more expensive but delicious.
And for a more substantial vegetarian lunch  add 180 gm of crumbled feta and increase the broccoli to 1 cup. This version will  need a couple more tablespoons of oil .

1 cup of couscous
1 cup of hot water
1/4 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried garlic
1 tablespoon of Fresh As freeze dried coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried chilli powder
Enough broccoli to make 1/2 cup of broccoli crumbs when whizzed
3 tablespoons of olive oil
the juice of 1/2 a lime /lemon
Freshly ground salt and pepper salt and pepper

Pour hot water over couscous
Leave to stand, covered,  for about 15 minutes util the water has been absorbed
Stir in the garlic, chilli, and coriander Fresh As freeze dried powders
Whizz the broccoli to make crumbs and add
Stir in the olive oil and lime/lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper

Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for several days.

Monday, 6 June 2016

A quintet of Fresh As freeze dried powder dips.

We're heading off for a week's wintry hiking in the South Island soon . Just for day walks so each evening we'll be returning to a comfortable and warm motel  to thaw out and rest our weary legs.

Without access to all the herbs and spices in my pantry and garden it's always a bit of a challenge to cook a tasty dinner in a motel kitchen and it calls for some creative thinking.

In my luggage this time will be some little resealable foil packets of Fresh As freeze dried herbs and spices.These are incredibly handy as they take up hardly any room, are resealable and are intensely flavoured. I've been trying them out at home and will post some of the recipes I developed with them soon. But these dips were my starting point.

I felt a bit like an alchemist swirling the coloured powders through little bowls of full cream yoghurt.The  dips can easily be multiplied. You can also add a little squeeze of lime juice to each dip but this is not essential.

The first three I served as part of a crudites platter with a collection of raw vegetables including celery and carrot sticks and sliced red pepper. 

Lemon grass, garlic and coriander dip

Mix together:
1/4 cup of Greek yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried  lemongrass powder
1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried garlic powder

Garlic dip

Mix Together:
1/4 cup of Greek yoghurt
1/4 teaspoon of Frsh As freeze dried garlic powder

Chilli Dip

Mix together:
1/4 cup of Greek yoghurt
1/4 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried chilli powder   or more depending on how hot you like it. But be careful, a little goes a long way!)

Once I was in the flow of things it was hard to stop so I created two variations which tasted especially good. The first was a quick way of making tzatziki , a garlicky cucumber dip. Good as a vegetable dip but we also enjoyed it as a side with freshly caught and fried snapper. 


1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried garlic powder
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 telegraph cucumber
a squeeze of lemon/lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Stir the Fresh As freeze dried garlic and olive oil  into the yoghurt. Add a squeeze of lemon/lime juice (about 1 teaspoon)
Peel and grate the cucumber.
Put the cucumber into a sieve and press down on it with a spoon to remove excess liquid
Stir the cucumber into the yoghurt mixture.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chilli and Smoked Paprika Dip

Apart from its vibrant colour The Fresh As freeze dried chilli powder is I think far superior to the often stale tasting chilli powder found in packets on most supermarket shelves. In this dip I have combined it with some smoked paprika , The result is not just good as a dip but great to spread liberally on a wrap before adding coleslaw and pulled pork/chicken.


Stir together:
1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
a squeeze of lime juice
2-3 tablespoon of mayonaise

Friday, 3 June 2016

Butternut Salad with Savoury Muesli and Walnut Crumble

This vibrant healthy salad is a meal in a bowl ,
My small obsession with the possibilities of using muesli in a savoury way continues! It does need to be a crunchy and only very lightly sweetened muesli so I have used organic Purebread Wild Oats muesli again.
Tio Pablo Red Chilpotle salt is another favourite of mine. This complex spicy Mexican salty condiment includes such ingredients as chilpotle, annatto seed, coriander. lime and juniper berries
The Kashmiri chilli powder is much milder than most. If you use another kind of chilli powder use much less or you can leave it out altogether.

 1/4 cup of Purebread wild oats muesli.
1/4 cup of walnuts
1/2 teaspoon of Tio Pablo Red Chipotle Salt

Briefly toast the walnuts and muesli in a dry frypan.
Stir in the  Tio Pablo Red Chilpotle salt.

500 gm of butternut (peeled and sliced)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2-1 teaspoon if kashmiri chilli powder
Freshly ground salt to taste
A handful of chopped coriander/flat leaved parsley
A small tub of ricotta cheese

Toss the butternut in the olive oil and kashmiri chili powder. Add a little salt.
Roast for about 20 minutes until done at 200 degrees C
Put in a shallow salad bowl .
Leave to cool a little before tossing plenty of chopped coriande/parsley  through the butternut.
Top with small dollops of ricotta and the muesli and walnut sprinkles

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Peter Gordon's Wintry Breakfast Secrets.

In Bite magazine this week chefs contributed their guilty or not so guilty kitchen  secrets. Good to know that Peter Gordon also loves a bowl of  simple comfort food, prepared very quickly on winter mornings.And that he is not at all averse to using a microwave to speed things up and to save on dish washing  although he is a well known chef with restaurants in various countries,the author of 8 cookbooks and with a TV presence.

When the weather is cold, the most common way he starts the day is to pour boiling water over some muesli/granola, head for the shower and once dried and dressed he puts this in the microwave for 20 seconds, Then he dollops on some sheep or goat's milk yoghurt.

His other way is to pour some soy milk over rolled porridge oats and blitz them in the microwave.Yoghurt usually ends up on top, or some stewed fruits he'll likely have in the fridge. He sees this as an essential part of his winter mornings when he really doesn't want to have a bowl of cld cereal.

I have been creating this kind of breakfast for years but I like to use a toasted muesli (like Purebread organic Wild Oats muesli)  rather than rolled porridge oats as he does. as it retains a little crunch. I pour over some milk and blitz in the microwave just until piping hot.

Sometimes I also add something fresh and fruity  prepared the night before like my apple and rhubarb compote. The Fresh As freeze dried lemon grass powder adds a little extra zing. 

Apple and Rhubarb Compote

1 cup of chopped rhubarb
1 cup of chopped apple (use a sweet apple like braeburn)
1 tbsp of brown sugar or to taste
1 teaspoon of Fresh As freeze dried lemongrass powder 
The juice of 1 orange

Combine all the ingredients and cook in a covered container in Microwave on high for for about 6-8 minutes until the apples and rhubarb have softened.
Leave to cool sa little
Then whizz in a food processor until smooth.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Savoury Bread and Cherry Tomato Pudding

Great for lunch! And the perfect way to use up some left over sliced bread.

Purebread Big Daddy Oats organic bread is good to use in this recipe. Its wholesome and chewy and is made slowly by the traditional method of bulk fermentation . 
Bottled sliced jalapeno peppers can be found in most supermarkets.

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (peeled and smashed)
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 3/4 cups of cubed Purebread Big Daddy Oats bread
3 slices of jalapeno peppers (finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons)
3 spring onions (sliced)
a small handful of basil (sliced)
1/4 cup of grated tasty cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon of salt ( or to taste)

Heat the oven to 180 degrees C
Toss the cherry tomatoes and garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil
Bake the cherry tomatoes with the smashed garlic in a single layer in a roasting pan for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are piping hot and the skins have started to split
In a large bowl beat the eggs with the milk and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Stir in the tomatoes and spring onions, the smashed garlic and the basil.
Pour this mixture into a small well greased quiche dish (20cm)
In another bowl toss the bread cubes with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
Spread the bread cubes over the eggy tomato mixture and press them down until well soaked.
Bake the quiche until set (about 30 minutes but may take a little longer)
Wait for a few minutes before serving. Biting into a very hot cherry tomato can burn your mouth (it happened to me!)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Feijoa and Apple Crisp with a Crunchy Glutenfree Raisin Bread topping


Enjoy this before the feijoa season ends! This rather wholesome and not too sweet version of apple crisp made great use of a couple of left over slices of Purebread Gluten Free raisin bread
Serves 2 (or one greedy person) but could easily be multiplied


1 large apple
4 feijoas
a pinch of ginger
2 tablespoons of butter (straight out of the fridge)
2 thin slices of Purebread Gluten Free  raisin bread
2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  • Microwave the apple and feijoas with a pinch of ginger in a lidded microwave safe bowl for 7 minutes. 
  • Spread the slices of Purebread Glutenfree Raisin bread liberally with butter
  • Rip into large pieces
  • Whizz in the food processor to make crumbs
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and whizz again briefly just to mix.
  • Put the cooked apple and feijoas in a small ceramic dish ( 15 cm)
  • Add the crumb topping.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes until the topping is golden and crisp ( watch carefully to make sure it does not burn)
  • Serve with Greek yoghurt.

This recipe was inspired by one I read on Mamta's kitchen She also passed on the hint that buttering the slices of bread before making the crumbs forces it into them and helps them to crisp up better then if you dot  with bits of butter as is usually done.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Savoury Bircher Muesli

The first time I heard of savoury muesli was while we were on a stopover in the USA recently. In the food column of a local paper savoury muesli recipes were hailed as the latest trend and some recipes were included including a bacon granola which was sweet, salty and spicy! Outrageous!?

Once home I set to and created a savoury muesli recipe which is less salty and sugary, easier to put together and vegetarian.The result : my Savoury Bircher Muesli. I love the crunch that the celery adds and the freshness of the mint.

You don't have to soak it overnight, but do let it stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving. I like it for breakfast  drizzled with milk/almond milk or coconut water.
It will keep in the fridge for a day or two so you can  eat a spoonful when hunger pangs strike.
Or put a couple of spoonfuls on top of a cos lettuce leaf, add a slice of Japanese pickled ginger and roll up for lunch.

2 stalks of celery finely sliced ( about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of grated apple (I used 2 large peeled Braeburn apples)
1/2 cup of Purebread Wild Oats Muesli ( this is a nice and crunchy organic muesli with a little honey)
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup of full cream yoghurt ( Clearwaters cream top yoghurt is especially nice)
A small squeeze of wasabi paste (from tube)
2-3 tablespoons of chopped mint both to stir through and garnish

Mix all the ingredients except the mint together.
Stir half of the mint through just before serving and garnish with the remainder.


Add some dried fruit like raisins/cranberries
Sprinkle with toasted walnuts

Whole: Recipes for Simple Wholefood Eating

I was part of the WholeFoods movement in the Sixties, baked wholemeal bread, sprouted beans, made yoghurt and floated around in long muslin dresses. And then life got busier. I went back to work and cooking from scratch began to fall by the wayside. The number of packets and tins in my pantry steadily grew.
But what goes round comes round. The Wholefoods diet which has taken the blogging world by storm in recent years sounds remarkably similar to what we ate in the sixties.
Older now, and less pressed for time, adopting a healthier lifestyle which might well lead to a longer life (and is better for the planet) is beginning to appeal to me once more.
A Wholefood diet means eating more mindfully, consuming food in its most natural state, processed and refined as little as possible.
In WHOLE Bronwyn Kan asked 11 of New Zealand’s healthy food bloggers and providers who have embraced this wholesome lifestyle to share their stories and their favourite recipes.
Our diet was simpler in the sixties. There are quite a few ingredients in WHOLE that I don’t have in my pantry like Psyllium husk, vegan protein powder, coconut nectar, cacao butter, bee pollen, savoury yeast flakes and chia seeds.
I don’t think you need to include all of these to have a healthy and balanced diet and restocking my pantry with all of them at once would be expensive. I decided to buy just two, chia seeds and almond milk for a start.
My favourite: Raspberry Chia Jam
Who doesn’t love slathering jam on toast? But it is full of sugar. This recipe in WHOLE is not only ridiculously easy to make but contains no refined sugar at all. You simply bring a punnet of any kind of berries to a simmer with 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup or honey, stirring gently. Remove from the heat and mash. Let cool for 5 minutes and then stir in a heaped tablespoon of chia seeds. It will set in an hour and keep in the fridge for a week. Good dolloped on Greek Yoghurt and muesli for breakfast.
When I ran out of fresh fruit I made it with frozen blueberries and left out the water. It worked just fine.
My granddaughters’ favourite: Yoghurt and Blackberry Ice Pops
We’re trying these days, not to load our granddaughters up with too many sugar laden treats so the yoghurt and blackberry ice pops appealed. For these you blend creamy natural or coconut yoghurt, smooth vanilla, honey and berries. Put this in paper cups and pop in Popsicle sticks. Then freeze in paper cups overnight.
They were a hit with our granddaughters and they could make them themselves.
Meatless Mondays:
We’re eating less meat and more vegetables these days so I am always on the lookout for some new vegetarian ideas.
Stuffed Garlic and Feta Portobello Mushrooms:
In this tasty recipe Portobello mushrooms stems are carefully removed, diced and mixed with tomato, feta cheese, garlic and fresh chives. The mushrooms are brushed with oil and filled with this mixture before baking.
Scalloped Potatoes:
Scalloped potatoes are a firm favourite at all of our extended family gatherings but with all that cream I don’t make it too often. It’s good to have a lighter version made with almond milk and parmesan cheese.
Courgette Cakes:
This really useful and tasty recipe contains ground almonds and parmesan and no flour so is gluten free. It calls for a cup of lemon balm, an old fashioned herb, not so often found in gardens these days. But you can easily substitute basil or coriander which I did. With courgettes in season right now it’s cheap as well.
Indian Chai:
It was while travelling in India that I fell in love with chai. It’s the perfect drink in hot weather which may seem surprising but the hot tea triggers your body’s cooling reflexes and brings your temperature down. The English, who brought tea to India, also brought sugar, which is often added in copious quantities, making it a rather unhealthy drink.
The chai in WHOLE is made with black tea and brewed with almond milk, cardamom, fresh ginger, and black peppercorns. It has no added sugar! It’s very nice.

There are lots of treats in WHOLE like Fresh Mint, dark chocolate and sea salt cookies, Beetroot and blackberry chocolate cakes, Raspberry and coconut cake with honey and cream cheese, Jaffa Amazeballs and Paleo Banana Bread. They do sound tempting and none contain refined sugar.
WHOLE was a good introduction to this generation’s approach to a wholefoods diet. There were plenty of recipes which appealed, were easy to follow and simple to make.
Title: WHOLE (Recipes for simple wholefood eating) Author: Bronwyn Kan Publisher: Beatnik RRP $45

This reviewfirst appeared in my weekly column on the GrownUps website

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Toasted Muesli Cannonballs

These little treats are lovely to nibble with a cup of coffee or handed out for an after school treat. I have been making variations of this recipe over the years and this is our favourite right now. The only problem is that it's hard to stop at one!
Store in the fridge,

Purebread Wild Oats muesli is lightly toasted organic muesli , a blend of organic grains, seeds and honey. 

The recipe makes at least 30.


75 gm of butter
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of grated apple (skin off)
1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa
1 1/2 cups of Purebread Wild Oats Muesli
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (toasted))
1/4 cup of finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla essence

Grate the apple over a sieve and press lightly to remove excess liquid.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add the sugar, apple, cocoa and salt.
Bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat.
Stir in the Purebread Wild Oats Muesli, toasted sunflower seeds, apricots and vanilla.
Mix thoroughly and drop by teaspoon on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
When cold form into balls and roll in coconut.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Gluten Free Banana Poffertjes

Dutch children (of all ages) love poffertjes (tiny fluffy round pancakes) made in a special poffertjes pan and served dusted with icing sugar and a lump of butter alongside. Traditionally they were made with yeast and buckwheat flour but there are modern variations in which other flours and baking powder are used.

I recently had the opportunity to try some Gluten Free Pikelet, Waffle and Pancake mix from the Goodies Factory and was inspired to use this to make poffertjes. I followed the recipe for pikelets on the packet. To half the mixture I added a finely chopped (not mashed!) banana.

The poffertjes pan should be lightly greased with butter for each batch. A tablespoon of batter is ladled into each little hollow. When  lots of bubbles appear the poffertjes need to be flipped over and this is a little tricky. I used a small silicone spatula but have since read that a fork/a sate stick could also be used.

The poffertjes turned out light and fluffy and were really delicous!Dusted with icing sugar, and served with some mixed berries and yoghurt on the side they made a great brunch for both those who are gluten free and those who are not.

The recipe made heaps of poffertjes ( about 30 without bananas and another 30 with) but as they are so moorish they will vanish quickly.

Below is a picture of the electric poffertjes pan.  I found mine in an op shop in Whangaparoa. There were a couple more there so keep a look out, or they can be bought at one of the Dutch shops which are scattered throughout New Zealand.

A Feijoa, Coconut and Ginger Cooler

So simple but very refreshing and no added sugar.
Scoop out the flesh from enough feijoas to make 1/4 cup when sieved.
Make up to one cup with some chilled natural coconut water
Add a little grated ginger and sieve again,
Serve at once, and enjoy this late summer thirst quencher.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A bowl of Feijoa, Peanut Butter and Miso Noodle Soup

Sometimes I just crave some comfort food , the kind which can be made very quickly from what is in our fridge, garden and pantry. 

That's what I made last night .
I started by making some miso soup using one of those little sachets you can buy in the supermarket. I dissolved one in 1 1/4 cups of boiling water.

Then I stirred in the feijoa, peanut butter and brown miso dip (the recipe follows) and reheated the soup until it was piping hot.

In the meantime I boiled a small bundle of Japanese Soba Buckwheat noodles in  lightly salted water, stirring them from time to time until tender then rinsed them briefly in cold running water.

The noodles were laid in a large bowl.
Over the top went the miso soup and some finely shredded young spinach leaves.
Dinner was done!

Using a tasty peanut butter for this recipe makes all the difference. I used Purebread peanut butter as it is organic, and made from Red skinned peanuts , Virgin coconut oil, honey and Certified sea salt (it's seriously good!)

This recipe makes 1 large bowl/2 medium sized bowls.

(A nice variation is, after adding the dip, to bring the soup back to the boil , add some thinly sliced mushrooms and simmer for two or three minutes before pouring the soup over the noodles. Along with the spinach you can add the finely sliced part of a spring onion as well.

Or if you don't happen to have any soba buckwheat noodles simply leave them out, It will still be a restorative soup.)

Feijoa, Peanut Butter and Miso Dip 

There was a bowl of kiwifruit  (a gift from my neighbours' garden) on the table so I played around with some, added a few other store cupboard ingredients and came up with this dip which is finger licking good: earthy, salty yet sweet and with a little heat. 


2 tablespoons of Purebread peanut butter
1 tablespoon of reddish brown miso paste ( this has a more assertive and deeper flavour than white miso)
3 large feijoas
1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar ( or the juice of a lime if you prefer it a little sharper)
1 teaspoon of sesame oil


Scoop the flesh out of the feijoas and sieve.
Stir the miso into the Purebread peanut butter Add all the other ingredients (including the feijoa juice) and mix well.

Serve with carrot and celery sticks.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Gluten Free Spicy Pork and Apple Meatloaf with a Feijoa Chutney

Here's a tasty lightly spiced pork and apple meatloaf. It's especially nice served with a feijoa chutney alongside. The magic ingredient is breadcrumbs made from Purebread Spicy Fruit Loaf. Which also conveniently makes it gluten free.
Nicest served hot but as it's a moist loaf it will happily sit in the fridge for several days.


700 gm of pork mince (free range)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 small onion
1 large sweet apple ( I used Braeburn)
50 gm of Purebread Spicy Fruit Loaf
3 tablespoons of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

To make it:

1. Chop the onion finely and saute in butter till soft.

2. Whizz 50 grams of Purebread spicy raisin loaf until reduced to crumbs

3. Put the breadcrumbs,  egg, tomato sauce, mustard  and salt and pepper in a large bowl.

4. Add the pork mince and mix well together.

5. Peel and chop the apple into small pieces and add.

6. Put the mixture in a loaf tin  and bake at 180 for about 40-45 minutes until done.

Feijoa Chutncy


2 cups of chopped feijoa flesh
1/2 cup of sultanas
2 onions (chopped)
1 cup of brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of garam masala
1 tablespoon of freshly ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick


1 .Put all the ingredients in a bowl and leave for a couple of hours for the sugar to dissolve and the flavours to mingle

2. Then put in a large heavy-based saucepan

3. Bring the mixture to the boil

4. Turn down the heat and let it simmer gently.

5. Stir from time to time.

6. It will be done when the chutney looks thick and syrupy.

7. This will take about 45 minutes-1 hour

8. Let it cool before eating.

9. It will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

10. Or it can be ladled  into sterilised jars,sealed and store in a cool dark place.