Tag Archives: Recipe

Perfectly Perfect Mushrooms

It took me 45 years to enjoy the taste of mushrooms. I remember clearly going out on an Autumn morning with Mum toting a bucket, out to the back paddocks of the farm searching for field mushrooms. She used to cook them in a roux and have the grey-brown creamy concoction on toast for her breakfast. I couldn’t stand the smell. So bad.  I remember sitting outside waiting for it to dissipate.

After many years attempting I’ve succeeded in falling in love with the taste of mushrooms. Cooking them quite differently to Mum and using plenty of garlic and seasoning is the key. The thing with garlic is that if you add it too soon and cook it too hot for too long it burns and tastes acrid – so  knowing when to add it is vital.


2 cups mushrooms sliced chunky. Field, button or brown mushrooms will do – the thick sturdy kind, not the papery feathery kind.

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil / avocado oil.

1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced thinly.

Salt and pepper

*Optional Squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic reduction


Place a heavy based frypan on a medium heat. Add oil and mushrooms and stir as they heat up. They will start to brown after two minutes, and will overcook really easily so take care at this stage. Stir while sizzling for a further minute until they start to shrink – only a little bit of shrinking, you want plump juicy mushrooms not shriveled ones. Add the garlic and stir quickly to combine for 10 seconds and then turn the heat off. Allow mushrooms to sit in the garlic for a further minute infusing their flavor then remove to a serving dish. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, squeeze lemon juice or drizzle balsamic and serve immediately.

Use as a side dish at breakfast with eggs / avocado / tomatoes, or rolled into a savory crepe with grated cheddar, serve with lunch or dinner, or sprinkle with crumbled feta and chopped parsley   as a light meal or use in a burrito or taco. Very versatile.

Bon appetit!


Easy Lunchbox Fillers

Ruby has been going through a spate of not eating her school lunch. Day after day she comes home with a lunch box still full of the lovingly made healthy meal – which takes up a fair bit of time each morning for the lunch-maker (aka Me). She said her friend has quiche for lunch and it’s yummy – so I thought I’d make a batch for this week and see how it goes down.

Here’s the recipe. It’s super easy.


4 eggs beaten.

3tbs grated tasty cheese.

1 red onion diced finely, sautéed gently for 5 minutes until transparent.

3 slices ham diced small. *Omit ham for a vegetarian option

Gluten free pastry sheets (you could use any savoury pastry or puff pastry).

2 tbs cream

Salt and pepper.

1 x 12 muffin tray

Olive oil for greasing.


Preheat oven to 180° C. Mix eggs, cheese, onion, ham, cream, salt + pepper in a bowl. Grease muffin tray with butter or olive oil. Cut out rounds of pastry – if you have an egg ring this can be helpful – and line the muffin tray by pressing the pastry into the bottom of each greased indent. Spoon in egg mixture and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

These will freeze well. You could take them straight out of the freezer in the morning and put into lunch box to defrost.

Bon appetit!


Caramelised Vegetable Lasagne

My bro in law Rik concocted a similar dish last time I stayed with them. I ate it for dinner and then again for breakfast, the texture and flavour…

was SO GOOD!!!

The sticky caramelised vegetables completely rocked. So last week I thought I’d give it a go. The result was better than expected,  both of the staunch meat eaters in our house went back for seconds.

It took me a couple of days to make this because of the cooling time (I didn’t start until late in the day) – so plan ahead if you can. It’s a show stopper of a shared meal and freezes well so if there’s any left stash a few servings in the freezer for easy meals during the week.



½ of a Pumpkin. Remove seeds, cut into pieces approx 2cm wide. Leave skin on.

5 Gold Kumara (aka Sweet Potato). Slice into rounds approx 2cm wide.

5 Red Onions. Slice into wide strips.

3 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar.

Fresh or Dried Lasagne Sheets. I used Delmaine Fine Foods Fresh Lasagne. Enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish twice.

6 large leaves Silverbeet (aka Swiss Chard). Sliced roughly.

2 Cups grated Tasty Cheese (add in some Parmesan if you like)

1 Tin Crushed Tomatoes

1 Tsp Raw Sugar

Dash of Balsamic Vinegar.

2 Cloves Garlic chopped finely.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Salt and Pepper


Turn oven on to a medium – med/ low heat. In a large baking dish layer the pumpkin and kumara, toss with a little EVOO, season with salt and pepper and place in the mid oven for about 90 minutes – until vegetables are starting to turn golden around the edges and are very soft and sticky. Set aside to cool. When the pumpkin is cool you can easily remove the skin – much easier than peeling while raw! At the same time place the onion in a separate baking dish, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and season. Cover with lid or tin foil and bake for 40 minutes until onion is soft. Remove and cool.

Take a deep baking dish (mine was approx 40 x 25cm) and smear a little EVOO on the bottom. Line with one layer of lasagne sheet. Distribute half of the pumpkin kumara mix and top that with half of the onion. Layer the silver beet on top and season with s & p, before placing another layer of lasagne sheet. You may have to press this down firmly as the raw silverbeet is a bit bouncy – but will flatten out nicely while cooking. Repeat the first two vegetable layers and then sprinkle grated cheese liberally over the top. Cover and bake in a medium oven for 45 minutes.

While it’s cooking take a frypan and place in the crushed tomatoes, garlic, a dash of balsamic vinegar and s & p. Bring to the boil while stirring and gently simmer for five minutes. Allow to stand.

After 45 minutes remove lasagne from the even and carefully remove lid – it will be steaming hot underneath so please be very careful. With a sharp knife cut the lasagne into 12 pieces. Take a ladle or large spoon and while drawing the cut edges back with the knife (or similar) spoon the freshly made tomato sauce into the cuts so that sauce goes to the bottom of the pan, and around the sides of the dish until it’s all used up. Place lasagne back in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.









Lemon meringue parrot ice cream

If you like lemon, this looks yum 🍋🍋🍋 Reblogged from ice cream magazine. 

Much love Ali x

Once upon thyme, and whilst eating a galaxy bar, far away (in Cornwall), where resides an Eclectus pet parrot, love looms large, bread pudding and lemon meringue pie are considered currency.        Said parrot is both treasured and ruined respectively and also placated as petulant human child. Though children don’t usually have […]

Flat Bread

Auckland’s North Shore locals are lucky to have a selection of cafes and restaurants offering good food and excellent coffee. One of my all time favourites Sausalito adjoins the cute Bridgeway Cinema on Northcote Point. Famous for cranking out tasty meals in extra-quick-time Sausalito has a wood-fire oven lit early in the morning which burns all day long in the heart of the restaurant.

This recipe is an adaptation from Peter, Sausalito’s head chef. The recipe is quick to prepare and will take one minute to cook in  a wood-fire oven. If you are using a conventional oven make sure it’s piping hot and if you have a pizza stone pop it in the middle of the oven and crank up the heat before placing the bread to cook on top of the hot stone.

Makes 4 medium sized breads.

2.5 C self raising flour
2 C natural unsweetened yoghurt
1 tsp salt

Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbs approx
1 head of garlic chopped finely / crushed
1 small onion chopped finely
Parmesan – optional
Fresh herbs – I used thyme, you can also use rosemary, chives, oregano, marjoram.
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Turn oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
Mix bread ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork. When combined turn out on to a floured surface and knead for one minute, adding flour when the mixture gets too sticky.
Form into a ball and stand for 30 minutes. *You can stand for longer – this recipe can be prepared ahead in the morning if you have lunch or dinner guests – simply smear a little olive oil over the top of the dough, cover with cling film and store in a cool dry place.

To Cook
Divide dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Take a ball, place on a floured surface and with a rolling pin or your fingers flatten it until about ¼ cm thick. Smear olive oil all over the top of the dough and then sprinkle with your choice of topping. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven (on baking parchment if using a conventional oven) / wood-fire oven until starting to turn gold and bubbling.
Remove from heat, cut and serve immediately.

NB** If you are GF you can make this with GF self raising flour – it doesn’t stretch as easily as flour with gluten in it so remember to be gentle when rolling it out or flattening with your fingers.

This makes an excellent pizza base ! Roll out dough and cover with your favourite pizza toppings then bake as above.

bread 1

bread raw

bread fire

Nourishing Red Lentil Soup

This is a cracker of a soup.  My all time favourite. Whenever there is a fresh batch in the pot I can’t stop myself eating it. I have just finished making a brew to take photos for this post and have already inhaled two bowls full !  On a cold day it is heart warming comfort food at the same time crammed with healthy nutrition.  Your body will love you for it.  It is very thick and also works well served cold as a dip with crudités, toasted french bread or vege sticks.  If you’re feeling adventurous add a tin of chickpeas or cannelini beans, red kidney or butter beans to the brew as well.  Have fun with it – you can’t go wrong with this recipe.  Children love to help in the kitchen, Bekele (4yrs) had fun blending the spices for me in the mortar and pestle – check his cute pic at the bottom of the post 🙂


4 x 400g tins crushed tomatoes

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 medium red onions, sliced fairly finely

2 litres vegetable stock, hot

1 cup dried red lentils

3 tbs cumin seeds

1 tsp ground paprika

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

5cm piece of ginger, grated

optional: seeds from 10 cardamom pods, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp ground turmeric

lemons for squeezing

coriander leaves for garnish

fresh ground black pepper and sea salt


Put all spices in a mortar and pestle and grind until well mixed and the cumin and cardamom seeds (if you are using them) have broken down a little  (they don’t need to be powder).  Place onions oil ginger and spices into a large heavy bottomed pot and turn on to a low heat.  Stir gently to toast the spices for one minute – you will smell the the aromatic oils being released – then add the tomatoes hot stock and lentils.  Stir to combine, turn up the heat to get the mixture to a gentle simmer and simmer stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.  The lentils have a tendency to stick to the bottom – hence stirring quite important !  When cooked remove from heat and season – tasting the mixture to ensure the correct amount of salt and pepper is used.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.  YUM

Recipe: Summer Harvest Salad

I’m in Northland.  We are one stage into the Tour of Northland (cycle race) and have parked our camper at Baylys Beach Holiday Park for the night.  Last night we spent at Sandy Bay which is just north of Tutukaka and there was no mobile service.

It is funny how we have become so reliant on mobile data.

It is hot and dry here and now that the cyclist has recovered he’s taken the kids to the beach for a swim and sand castle making expedition.  When you’re on tour or camping it’s much more enjoyable if you eat well.  Have a few staples on hand to base your meals on – rice and pasta can be pre cooked and stowed in the fridge and combined with local produce and a great dressing to create a delicious meal in a few minutes.  I used brown Basmati rice in this recipe but you can substitute red, black, wild or normal brown rice.  Make the dressing in a jar with a lid before you leave home to save fiddling around and then you can give it a shake and use it when you need it.  Serves 4.


4 cups brown Basmati rice, cooked

1 large nashi pear, cored and diced chunky

1 large firm ripe nectarine, diced chunky

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup whole almonds chopped roughly

1 capsicum any colour, seeds removed and sliced

Handful rocket / basil / fresh coriander, torn or roughly chopped

1 400g tin chickpeas, drained

1 orange, peeled and diced chunky

3 tablespoons whole cumin seeds


6 tablespoons avocado oil / extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

1 small tsp mustard

2 cloves garlic crushed and chopped finely

1 tsp honey

salt and pepper

Mix well / shake in a jar to create an even consistency.  Taste and adjust seasoning.


Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle the dressing over and toss gently.  Sprinkle the cumin seeds liberally over and toss again very gently.  Season and taste, adjusting flavours if required.  Serve immediately.