Starting the day right.......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com).

This has become a favourite breakfast at my place after Jen introduced me to hemp hearts. It’s an easy recipe and great for busy mornings as there’s minimal prep. You can change the fruit topping, depending on what is around at different times of the year.

Jen tells me Hemp hearts are nutritious hulled heart of the hemp seed, that look a bit like sesame seeds. They taste nutty and are a high quality protein containing omega 3 and 6, plus an excellent source of good fats. They’re great sprinkled on breakfast dishes, salads and you can even add them to smoothies. Available at organic grocers, health shops and online direct from the grower. Just remember to keep them in the fridge so they don’t go rancid.

Enjoy! 

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Autumn Baking.......

The weather has definitely changed over the last few weeks, and the temperature dropped considerably with Autumn setting in. My pear trees are coming to the end of this years crop, so as per usual we have ended up with a pear overload. This means pears in everything, from desserts, baking, chutneys, to even tossing a few in salads and roasting with meat dishes. Pretty versatile fruit when you think about it.

So here’s one of my favourite pear based cakes with lots of nuts, and a topping of Mascarpone cream. Great with a cup of tea or even as a dessert.

Enjoy! 

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Fresh Peaches = Summer on a Plate!

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). She recently managed to score a 12kg box of peaches at a bargain price, so had to get creative in the kitchen cooking and preserving the peaches before they were past their best. This recipe Jen has developed is a very simple and light summer dessert, and a perfect finish to a BBQ or summer salad. The peaches went down a treat on our shoot day, and I definitely fulfilled my role as chief taste tester by having seconds and thirds! They’re also fantastic as leftovers the next day on your breakfast cereal. Any stone fruit would work well instead of the peaches, as well as fresh figs.

Start this recipe a day in advance as the labne needs time to hang.

Enjoy! 

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Valentines day - are you sorted ......?

Well it’s that time off year again - yup Valentines Day!. Have you got everything sorted for your special other half? Flowers/pressie, special dinner in or out, yummy cocktail to start the evening? Well I’m here to help you out with the last item on that list. Sorry can’t help you the other items, you’re on your own for those!

This Strawberry Basil & Gin Cocktail is pure summer in a glass, and perfect for Valentines Day in the southern hemisphere. Not so great for northern hemisphere peeps, it’s probably still snowing and freezing cold in your neck of the woods. Maybe try this cocktail at another time of the year.

Your challenge on Valentines Day is to try and stop at just one cocktail. They’re very addictive so it would be easy to drink 2 - 3 cocktails, and forget about that yummy dinner you’ve got in the oven!

Enjoy! 

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Courgette heaven ......?

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). As per usual at this time of year the courgettes take over the vege patch. Jen was telling me she had planted 4 courgette plants this year, which was one less than last summer, and she’s still trying to cope with them all ripening at the same time. Puts my single plant to shame, but I’ve still got the same problem.

If you aren’t picking almost daily, in the blink of an eye they turn into marrows! This rich moist cake is a nice way to use up any extra courgettes you have before they end up the size of a marrow football.

Enjoy! 

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Blackcurrant heaven......

This week I’m rolling out something a bit special, plus using up the last of my blackcurrant harvest. If you want an appetiser/canape to impress the neighbours when they drop in for drinks - then this is it! The rich ruby red colour of the Blackcurrant Salmon Gravlax is very striking and it tastes AMAZING!

The recipe takes a little preparation a few days in advance, but boy is it worth it. I served it with pickled vegetables and blinis, but it would be equally good with eggs at breakfast or over a salad with some crusty bread.

Enjoy! 

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Berry Delicious......!

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This time its a type of syrup called a fruit shrub, which is a concentrated syrup with a vinegar base, that’s used as a mixer in cocktails or with soda. It was popular during the American colonial era, and it’s making a come back with the recent interest in mixology. On a hot day it’s very refreshing served with soda, ice and extra fruit.

This recipe has a cold brew method where the ingredients are left to sit to concentrate the fruity flavour. Some fruit, like rhubarb require cooking with the sugar first. Jen tends to use the cold brew method when she can, as it produces a fresher flavour. You could also experiment using different types of sugar, matching it to the type of fruit.

In this recipe Jen used boysenberries, but raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, logan berries will all work well, in fact you can use just about any fruit to make a shrub. Try stone fruit, rhubarb, apples, pears, and even cucumber. Pair them with herbs/spices such as Pear & Ginger, or Strawberry & Basil for a fantastic base in a cocktail.

Enjoy!

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Fig Celebrations......

In past years I’ve struggled to get any ripe figs off my established fig tree (Fig Brown Turkey) in the garden. Living in the south island of New Zealand and having to put up with the vagaries of our summer weather, most years I end up with plenty of figs that never ripen before the end of autumn.

So this year I thought I would try an experiment and plant a new fig tree (Fig Mrs Williams) in my garden. I’ve positioned it against a north east facing fence (southern hemisphere sun is best in this direction). When it gets a little bigger the plan is to espalier the fig tree along the fence to maximise the amount of sun the new fig tree gets. Fig Mrs Williams is an earlier fruiting variety than Fig Brown Turkey, so fingers crossed it comes up with the goods.

Well surprise surprise - we’re only half way through January and already I’ve had ONE ripe fig off my small fig tree. So I can’t wait till early autumn see what this little tree comes up with next.

With a single perfectly ripe fig to play with, what dish to make? It has to be something simple and tasty, so I’m thinking a Fig, Apple & Walnut Salad will be perfect! And yes it was Ç’est Magnifique or Awesome for the non francophiles out there!

Enjoy! 

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Fresh Cherry Frangipane Brioche......

This week I have another recipe from fellow foodie Jen Pomeroy (www.themodernmess.com). This is Jen’s version of Bostock or Brioche Aux Amandes, and she’s used fresh cherries as they are fantastic at this time of year. Also included are another couple of favourites a marmalade version and a Christmas mince version.  Best eaten warm straight from the oven, and it’s a lovely brunch option or great with coffee. 

 Prepare the frangipane and orange syrup the night before, and assemble the brioche in the morning and bake. 

Enjoy! 

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The best end to a winter dinner .......

Searching for a light winter dessert to have at a weekend dinner with friends? You've got to try these roast spiced pears with hazelnuts and labne. Roasting the pears gives them a richer flavour, and the generous slug of port with the spices makes for a heavenly combination. Of course a little tipple during cooking doesn't go amiss either. 

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The weather, Clive James & citrus .......

Well winter has definitely arrived, and we seem to be experiencing weeks of grey overcast days with continual rain. I always remember a comment by Australian author and raconteur Clive James, about his view on the weather in London - he likened it too living under a Tupperware container. Got to agree with you there Clive, we have the same problem here in NZ at the moment.

To brighten the long grey wet weekend I’ve had a bit of a baking session in the kitchen to use up some of the citrus from the garden. This combination of the tart citrus filling with the liquoricey anise pastry is perfect! Give the recipe a go - you won’t be disappointed!

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Quince oversupply.......

You can tell it's Autumn, coz I've been busy in the kitchen trying to use up some of the bumper crop of Quinces from the garden. So far on the cooking schedule I've made Quince Paste, Quince Tarts, Quince Muffins, and finally this  very yummy recipe for Quince & Ginger Sorbetto.  

I wasn't sure how well the quince would freeze but it came perfectly, and you can't beat that AMAZING colour. Next on the baking schedule is to make another Quince Tart (or even Apple Tart) and serve with this Quince Sorbetto. Ohhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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Easter Treats.....

Whilst thinking about Easter recently and trying to avoid the inevitable chocolate coma, I saw this recipe in Dish Magazine for an amalgamation of hot cross buns and donuts! What a combination - it certainly got my attention.  Whats not to love about a donut flavoured like a hot cross bun!  

Have to say they were delicious, and we did a very thorough taste test this morning with coffee. Meanwhile the younger generation were busy doing a grid search of the garden trying to hunt down the elusive easter eggs. Happy Easter everyone!

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Calling all Lovebirds.....

For all those lovebirds out there in blog land, Valentines Day is just around the corner so time to spoil that partner, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, special friend etc! How about starting the day right with breakfast in bed? A little waffle and rhubarb berry magic could be a perfect Valentines treat. 

Bon appetit!

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A Little Celebration.....

Every Christmas holidays I try to do a major project either in the studio or with my promotional material. So this year it was time for a website and blog redesign and update. Well to be honest it was long overdue for update, and was getting a bit embarrassing how old some of the images were.  So I toiled away over Christmas thinking I could knock the project off in a week, which then became 2 weeks, then 3, and finally 4 weeks before the new website & blog were launched. Don't ask what the problems were, but needless to say there was lots of going round in circles and wheel spinning happening. Check out the redesign at www.motif.co.nz.

To celebrate the launch (finally!) I've baked this yum Blood Plum & Blueberry cake with plums & blueberries from my garden. Cooking dishes from produce you've grown in your garden, makes it just that bit more extra special don't you think.

Enjoy!

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Happy 2018.....!

Happy New Year to everyone out there in blog-land. Many thanks for your wonderful support in 2017, and I can't wait to see what fabulous things 2018 brings. Here's how we started our New Year's celebrations last night with a summery sangria. It's the perfect drink for those long summer evenings. Enjoy!

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Christmas Raspberry & White Chocolate Trifle

Yay it's Christmas time - that special time which only comes once a year to slightly overindulge on the food front! And have I got the creme de la creme ('scuse the pun) of all christmas desserts for you.

Check out this christmassy Raspberry and White Chocolate Trifle with Raspberry Macaroons - it's slightly different from your standard every day trifle but boy does it taste good! You can follow the recipe or get a bit creative and do multiple thinner layers of jelly and white chocolate, then top it all off with the macaroons and mascarpone cream. Which ever way you put it together it will always cause a stampede at your christmas table. 

Merry Christmas everyone - enjoy!

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Who's counting the calories...?

Look away now if you have an aversion to calories or sugar. This recipe is NOT for you! It might be slightly healthy with the addition of bananas but the rest of the ingredients don't appear on any healthy eating guide I've ever seen.

I love cooking this recipe for Sunday brunch, or in fact brunch any day of the week. It has all the ingredients I love.....

  • Caramel sauce - check. 
  • Bananas - check. 
  • Whipped cream - check.  
  • Chocolate - check, check, check. 

And all put together in one scrummy dish - who could want for more? But be aware you may need a lie down after to deal with the sugar comma that will follow! Enjoy.

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Summer has kicked in....!

At long last summer has finally kicked in with lovely warm sunny days. Needless to say the rhubarb patch has gone feral, which must also have something to do with all the compost and sheep pellets I dug in a few months ago. Definitely does help if you feed your plants!

I normally do a Rhubarb & Strawberry galette, but as my strawberries are still a long way off and I'm not paying a small fortune for the imported hot house ones, I've added some ginger for extra zing. Give the recipe a go, the rhubarb/ginger combination is super yum!

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Dealing with a lemon glut...!

Well its the first day of spring, and it's hosing down outside. Guess the weather gods didn't get the spring starting now memo!

Too brighten up the grey day outside I've whisked together this super easy Lemon Posset recipe to use up some of the glut of lemons I currently have in the kitchen. Teamed up with the Citrus Shortbread this is a yum dessert with a good citrus kick. The berries add a tart flavour and cut through some of the posset sweetness. Give the recipes a go - they can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Enjoy!

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