…fritter recipe up on the blog next Wednesday!
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…fritter recipe up on the blog next Wednesday!
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Woooooohooooo – finally – I am going on my little beach holiday!!!! Bloody hell I can’t wait, and just in case you aren’t back at work yet, or planning some long weekends away over the summer, I thought these two recipes might come in handy. The muesli bars are completely addictive, (I keep them in the fridge or chilly bin (esky) as I like them cold at the beach), and can’t help but go back to keep breaking little bits off every time I have a cup of tea – the combination of nubbly oats, sweet figs, honey, earthy walnuts and spicy ginger is fabulous. Meanwhile the bikkies have a pretty classic and delicious flavour profile with apricots, white chocolate, almonds and tropical coconut – perfect. Crikey it feels like aaaages since I posted some baking recipes…
And so – yay – today I jump on the ferry to head to Waiheke, then tomorrow I’ll take the long route to Whangapoua for a few nights, finishing with a stay in Whangamata on my way home. I am so excited to be having a wee summer roadie – my Mini will be packed to the gunnels with beach towels, togs, food (obvs), whisky and wine – hurrah! This past week my darling Pog has been wilting in the scorching Melbourne heat with gorgeous Will, while lovely Hoob has been back at work on and off in Welly, and meanwhile I have been prepping for the work year ahead, hitting the gym (makes it sound so much more impressive to say ‘hitting’…), walking and generally mooching around home. But, now the dogs are ensconced at the kennels, the sun is shining (pleeease stay that way), and I’m off! Take care and I’ll see you back here in a while…
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Well now, 3rd January 2018 already…! I hope yours has gotten off to a rollicking good start and that this year brings plenty of upside to the inevitable occasional lows. This salad is designed to enjoy while you’re on summer holiday, ideally with loved ones, enjoying the beach and sea – a combination of vibrant flavours and textures with an earthy outdoor vibe. Sweet corn, creamy avocado and red pepper are tossed with quinoa (or brown rice, small pasta or couscous would also work well), peppery rocket, pungent coriander and juicy ripe tomatoes, then topped with spicy sriracha brushed steak and a zesty lime dressing. It makes a bloody brilliant lunch or dinner, and if you serve the steak on the side instead of in the salad, is a great barbecue dish.
Right then, my new year has gotten off to a glacially-paced start as I have been mooching around home solo – not by design I promise. I saw in 2018 with some of my dearest friends, but since seem to have slid into a very quiet black hole. Thank God I am finally heading away (sans dogs) next week to have some beach-time with friends so that I can spend some time out of my own head (the curse of the single free-lancer). Pog has been partying up in Sydney with gorgeous Will and Hoob has been cycling around Martinborough on a wine tour with his lovely lady…haha time for their mother to have some fun too…bring on that bloody sand and sea!!!
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Happy New Year’s Eve, eve! I thought I should get my act together and post this now in case you are hosting tomorrow night and trying to think of nibbles to serve with drinks. These are super easy to make, all of the prep is done in advance, and the combination is bloody fabulous – sweet roasted grapes and figs with salty, pungent blue cheese, peppery rocket and crunchy, golden caramelised walnuts. (A recipe I originally put together for my good mates at Dish magazine). Yum. Aaaaand in other news, I hope you had a happy Christmas! I was lucky enough to have Hoob here for two nights, which was short but very sweet, and as usual hosted Christmas brunch with recipes you can find here – bircher muesli, roast side of salmon, salad with avocado, broad beans and goat cheese and Christmas mince chocolate brownies.
Since then I have been floating around in the weird no-man’s land of having no kids at home (unlike all of my friends) and feeling very ‘spare maiden aunt’ while families go on holiday and spend time together (the city is like some kind of abandoned twilight zone). I do try and keep in touch and organise stuff but sometimes it is just a bloody effort on your own! Thank God for my four besties preventing me from falling off the radar completely – I owe them big time – to be paid back fulsomely with food and strong alcohol in the new year. (Last night case in point – lovely drinkies and dumplings and a tiny bit of bar hopping). In an effort to perk myself up I have been sticking to my lovely big walks and heading to Waiheke for beach days now and again…and have actually joined a gym for the first time in many years. I had a lovely trainer explaining exercises in huge detail to me yesterday and only just managed not to mention that I was actually a personal trainer a few years back – haha, God forbid they have any expectations I will feel obliged to meet…much better to keep it on the low down I reckon. Right time to get up – walk, Waiheke, beach and a quiet night in are on the agenda. Wishing you a fantastic, fun-filled NYE and a bloody brilliant 2018…see you next year!
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Goooood morning from bed with my second vat of tea – today’s recipe is one I created for Dish magazine last Christmas, and it is so bloody good I wanted to share it with you here. (Lesley – d’oh – I’m SO sorry I forgot to send this to you yesterday!). Anyhoo, I’m finally recovered from my birthday bash and ready to get into the Christmas spirit, so these incredible brownies are on the list to make – dark, chocolatey, dense and (dare I say it) moist, they are given a festive, lightly spiced kick with the addition of fruit mince. Seriously, you can’t really tell until you bite into one, but when you do…phwoar!
And so, yes, I’m feeling ready to start getting my Christmas vibe going. So far the sum total of my festive decorating is a bright red wreath on the door, so finally yesterday I ordered a tree to be delivered today (no way one of them was going to fit in my Mini), and did my first bit of present shopping. I sat down and planned my Christmas brunch menu and almost contemplated putting on some Christmas music…almost. (Maybe today when I decorate the tree). It is so weird to do things like this by myself after being so focussed on creating special occasions and memories for my darling boys and our little family for so long. Pog is staying in Melbourne for Christmas to share the day with lovely Will’s family, and Hoob is only with me for Christmas Eve and the first part of the actual day. So. In the same way I almost ignored turning 50 but then threw a party instead, I am making myself sort Christmas for myself – and even though it also feels slightly ridiculous and indulgent, if I don’t do it then I reckon it will be miserable. So then, tree, decorations, chocolate Christmas mince brownies, and oh go on then, the Pogues, George Michael and even Bing Crosby might make it onto Spotify today…
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Good morning! Right – here we go another weekly recipe in the lead up to Christmas and the new year. These were both so bloody easy delicious to make and work beautifully together, I hope you’ll give them a whirl! The chicken in this recipe is stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in pancetta with sage, then cooked on a bed of creamy, soft fennel…rich and luscious.The salad (posted separately) is totally addictive with garlic roasted little red potatoes and asparagus, sweet, ripe tomatoes, crunchy red onion, peppery rocket and a classic vinaigrette. It would make a perfect Christmas lunch for 6, but could easily be doubled to serve 10-12, and just a note that I have kept the portion sizes on the chicken deliberately small as it is quite rich, and designed for lunchtime eating.
Aaaand I had by birthday ‘do’ last Saturday night which was a total blast – I am incredibly lucky to have the most amazing group of friends, who ate, drank, danced and laughed into the night. Two girlfriends (hello Vetty and Sarah!) made the most incredible birthday cake, a perfect replica of the book ‘coming un stuck’ – except with the wording ‘becoming the fab tuck’. Not only did it look stunning but it tasted fabulous too. Then there was the hilarious song and dance routine performed by a gorgeous group of women, all wearing short blonde wigs, over-sized glasses and aprons. They belted out a version of Y.M.C.A with the letters T.U.C.K accompanied by perfect back up music and dance moves. Needless to say it was brilliant. As the night wore on I might have had one more negroni than was strictly necessary and boogied energetically ’til the wee hours. I had been pensive about throwing my own party, worried that it was self-indulgent and silly, but I’m so glad I did…you only turn 50 once after all.
So, now loads to do – I’m shooting with Cuisine today, it’s 6:30am and the slow cooked meat has already been in the oven for an hour. Best I get (back) out of bed and on with my day. Check back in next week for another new recipe!
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This stunning salad is so easy but packed with flavour – the wee red spuds are roasted with garlic, and the asparagus at the end of cooking. They are tossed while still warm with peppery rocket and sweet, ripe baby tomatoes then topped with a little sharp crunch from the red onion an a delicious vinaigrette. This works amazingly with the chicken wrapped in pancetta and sage, cooked on creamy fennel (see next recipe), but would also be bloody brilliant along side simply cooked fish or beef. I know it sounds super simple (and it is) but the flavours are magic together!
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Fridaaaay – and as promised, a new recipe (each week) between now and the new year. This is my perfect Christmas salad to go with the tried and true roast side of salmon with pomegranate glaze and quick pickled red onions – the combinations are so bloody brilliant. The salad is loaded with fresh bright peas and broad beans, creamy avocado and milky mozzarella, peppery watercress and salty feta – all finished off with the zing of mint and lemon zest, a bit of chilli grunt, and nutty, aromatic dukkah. Seriously, it is my favourite! I originally put the recipe together for Dish magazine, and if you are thinking about making the salmon for Christmas (so easy and popular), this is the salad for you.
And in other news, as mentioned yesterday I occasionally question my sanity when organising things – I always think ‘yep, yep I can do that!’, and so I do…but at some point I will have a moment of ‘what the bloody hell was I thinking? So tomorrow night I have my 50th birthday party here – and from a foodie perspective I thought I’d share the menu: oysters natural (served simply on ice with lemon), crostini two ways – with chicken & fennel salad or simple tomatoes, olive oil & basil, olive and semi-dried tomato arancini with aioli and a few massive antipasto platters loaded with prosciutto and other cured meats, mozzarella, grilled asparagus, olives, hummus and fresh Italian breads. Drinks will be negronis and aperol spritzes (classic recipes from my book). Later in the evening I have artisan pizzas being delivered – cos quite frankly at some stage I just want to have a few drinks and a boogie and not be in the kitchen! Anyhoo, so that’s the plan…I’ll let you know how it goes.
Finally – gah – missing my babies…it was so fabulous having them here. Henry is now hard at work in Melbourne at a tiny house building workshop, while Rich is flat out with his job in Welly. If you fancy seeing their Christmas wish lists for inspo for your own menfolk, you can find it here. Right, needless to say you won’t hear from me again until after the weekend – but check back next Wednesday for another new recipe…see you then.
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As I sit here, whisky in hand, I am feeling slightly out of control with my big 50th bash just a few days away (so much to do – oh my God, what was I thinking???). I have just had darling Rich here for a few days followed by the gorgeous Henry. It has been incredibly lovely having them to stay – I can’t believe that another year has passed and they have both developed and grown so much, in stature and maturity. Hoob has morphed from a laid-back and lovely, mellow, fun-loving soul into a deep-thinking, passionate and responsible young man (without losing any of his loosey-goosey nature that I love so much), while Pog has become even more of a determined, adventurous and stylish man – an imposing unmissable man-about-town. I am outrageously proud of them both. With serendipitous timing I was approached by the good people of Smith & Caughey’s a while back, to ask what I would choose from their beautiful store as gifts for my lovely men/boys for Christmas – so I passed the challenge along and asked them both to search for the things that they would want (in a perfect world) to find wrapped beneath the Christmas tree.
It was a delightful indication of the men that they have become to see what they selected – the once long-haired, thrift-shopping Rich has now embraced a new sophistication and is looking to a new year and developing a style that reflects his move into adulthood, while Henry chose both homewares and clothes that are so perfect I want most of them myself!
So – as part of my goal for 2018 to show you a bit more of myself and my style, I am happy to share those selections with you – maybe you have a young (or not-so-young) man in your life that is hard to buy for and will find something amongst their picks that will work for you too!
So first up 22 year-old style maven Henry. In his final year at school he was mentioned in his house end-of-year speech as the guy most likely to be a fashion designer in New York in the future, as can probably be seen by his first pick above which can be found here, and for all of the info on the rest, just click on the pics…
…and now for the political, basketball mad, deep-thinking, man-model Hoob:
…next step is my plan to head back in-store and roam around to see which of their picks (or maybe some of my own!?) will be unwrapped on Christmas Day!
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Ta daaaaah! As promised there will be a new recipe here each week between now and the new year – and first up is this gem of an ice cream that I created last year for the good people at Fisher & Paykel and Dish magazine. I am so excited to finally share it, because it really is such a bloody delicious and easy solution to Christmas dessert. The ice cream tastes like Christmas – with whisky (or brandy), ginger, figs and cinnamon all blended together in a luscious creamy base, and the praline provides that extra little bit of festive sparkle to make it even more fancy!
Right I am literally posting this ‘on the run’ (or walk actually), I am just about to head out the door for my morning walk, Pog is upstairs in bed with Maggie and Dougal, and we have a busy day ahead – starting with the book signing at Karen Walker New market at midday. Henry is joining me which is so super cool, it will be a huge treat for me to have him there, and then we have a few jobs to run around and get done before heading off to Waiheke tomorrow. So, that’s it for now, really must fly – but more news next time…
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Helloooooo – I just wanted to remind you that it is looking likely that Coming Unstuck will sell out by Christmas, so if you’re keen to pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift pop along to the Newmarket Karen Walker store this Saturday 2nd December between12-1pm. I feel incredibly privileged to be signing books alongside these amazing authors – Eleanor Ozich, Stacy Gregg, Sam Stuchbury, Catherine Chidgey, Megan May and Jordan Rondel – I have to say the whole thing feels pretty surreal!
Big thanks to the team at Karen Walker for supplying the pics and to Viva for the shout out for the top fun things to do this weekend. Hopefully see you on Saturday!!!!! (PS – there will be a bloody fabulous new recipe up on the blog tomorrow too)
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Gooood morning, good morning! As you can see I am doing my final book signing for the year this Saturday 2nd December, from 12-1pm at the Newmarket Karen Walker store. I am pretty bloody excited to be doing it with such amazing people – Megan May of Little Bird Organics, Eleanor Ozich from Petite Kitchen and the incredibly creative Sam Stuchbury to name a few!
If you haven’t bought a copy of Coming Unstuck yet I would really encourage you to come along as it is looking like stocks of the book will be selling out around Christmas and I don’t want you to miss out…and I haven’t decided on a second run yet, so it may be your last chance ever!
Haha – anyhoo, that’s it for my big sales pitch – come and say hi, I’d love to see you there…
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