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School holidays are always a good time to do a bit of baking with the children. They all love to have their turn weighing, mixing and licking the bowl.  When i ask what should we make it is always the same “choc chips” but not this time, this time we are making a slice and with blueberries.  Which made their little eyes light up with interest.
Anyway this is a recipe anyone can make and it is loved by all.

Blueberry Crumble


I find these are easier to cut once chilled.  They also store better in the fridge than they do at room temperature which is a little unusual for a slice.

Makes 24 smallish slice

1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
230g cold unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tsp cornflour

Preheat oven 190C
Grease a 25×30 slice tin.
In the food processor bowl, add 1 cup of sugar, 3 cups flour and baking powder.  Mix in salt and lemon zest, pulse to combine.  Add the butter, pulse until fine breadcrumbs form, add the egg and pulse to combine. The dough will be very crumbly, don’t worry as this is what you are looking for.
Pat half the dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir toghether the sugar, cornflour and lemon juice.  Gently mix in the blueberries.  Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust.  Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until top is slightly brown.  Cool completely before cutting.


It is always a blessing when you wake up on a Saturday and the weather is better than expected.  I had the thermals ready and waiting, only to be pleasantly surprised with the warm balmy weather outside.  I just knew it would be a great day!

Alison in the Mobile Kitchen

As usual when the weather is warm, people are happy.  Once again i had fantastic produce to cook.  This week i had brussles sprouts from Ettrick Gardens, venison chilli salami from Basecamp Salami, smoked mauaka eggs, from Neville and plums from Harwarden Organics.  And as usual Nigel from Brydone Growers generously added some outdoor grown tomatoes which are great cooked into sauces, chutneys, and general everyday cookery.


Ettrick Gardens
(brussels sprouts)


Photo by Sarah Cowhey

 Serves 6
600g Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 shallots or 1 onion, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C
In a bowl, mix the sprouts with the shallots or onion, olive oil, honey and some salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking tray or shallow dish, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until the sprouts are tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and balsamic vinegar and serve.
NB; try adding a little basecamp salami diced up and added to the Brussels before roasting.

      (thank you for the plums)
Harwarden Organics


Photo by Sarah Cowhey

1 ½ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup oil such as canola or rice bran
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
8 plums, halved and pitted


Preheat the oven to 180C
Butter a 20cm square pan, dust with flour, tap out excess.
Sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom or cinnamon if using together.
Using a electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it is creamy and soft. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, and beat well between each egg. Still working on medium speed beat in the oil, zest and vanilla; the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter– four rows of plum halves each – jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is honey/golden brown in colour and puffed around the plums, and if inserted with a skewer it will come out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes during which time the plum juices will seep back into the cake then run a knife around the sides of the pan, invert and cool right side up.

Once cool, I dusted mine with icing sugar. (It soaks into the plums, but keeps the cake a speckly white.)
You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

Basecamp Salami


photo by Sarah Cowhey

Serves 2

1 large cooked waxy potato – van rosa or desiree
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
70g basecamp chilli salami, cut into thickish slices or chunks
2 Manuka Smoked eggs
1 spring onion, sliced thinly
3 sprigs fresh coriander, cut roughly
Olive oil
2 slices toasted sour dough bread

Preheat the grill to medium-hot.

Heat a medium size heavy fry –pan up to medium-hot, add a generous amount of oil. Add the onion and garlic, cook until the onion slightly colours and softens (5 minutes). Add the salami and cook gently to extract flavour. Cut the potato into ½ cm slices, add to the fry pan and gently toss so the potatoes are coated in the flavoured oil. Cook until the potatoes go golden brown and crispy, break both eggs carefully onto the potatoes. Place under a hot grill and cook until the eggs have just set (2-5 minutes). Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the spring onions, coriander and a little seasoning. Serve immediately in the fry pan with good quality toasted bread!

 Manuka Smoked Eggs

MANUKA SMOKED EGGS – if you are one of the few who haven’t yet tried these delicately smoked eggs then I thought it only fitting that I give you a few suggestions to get you on your taste journey.

• They make the best scrambled egg, add a little cream, seasoning and if you want to really make them sing add a few finely chopped chives. Cook gently in butter. It is vital that remove the eggs off the heat when they are still slightly runny.
• Mayonnaise or aioli
• Omelet
• Hollandaise sauce
• Quiche/ bacon egg pie
• Added to batter, and when crumbing
• Fried egg atop a good steak
• Boiled or softly poached and used in salads
• Scotch egg
• Baked custard








I may not be overally religous, but i am traditional.  Hot cross buns appear from many members of our family.  I must admit i love the whole process from fermenting the yeast to making a lovely silky, heavily scented dough, placing it in front of the fire too prove.  Letting out a bit of anger in knocking the dough back and then tenderly moulding the buns.  And best of all when they finally get into the oven and the house fills with that unforgettable aroma of sugar and spice mmmm….Happy Easter everyone!


Makes 20

325g raw cane sugar
1 ½ granny smith apples, unpeeled, cored and diced
1 cinnamon quill
750g flour
150g sultanas or golden raisins
50g dried apples, diced
30g glace peel
14g dried yeast
3 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
Finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
380ml milk
100g butter, diced
1 egg
Combine 260g sugar and 375ml water in a saucepan, squeeze in juice of ½ a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half in 5mm-thick slices, add to pan with Granny smith apple and cinnamon quill. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes). Stain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple and set aside.

Combine 700g flour, sultanas, dried apple, glace peel, yeast, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, allspice, rinds, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Warm the milk with the butter until the butter melts, cool till lukewarm. Whisk in the egg and then the milk mixture into the flour, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 8-10 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

Knock back dough, divide into 20 even sized pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangle oven tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1 cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

Preheat oven to 220C. Combine remaining flour and 70 ml cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 200C and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (8-10 minutes).

Meanwhile, combine the reserved syrup and remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy and combined. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Delicious!!!


Simon (my husband) had a hankering for Chicken Kiev.  I on the other hand had to stop and ponder for a moment as to what exactly was Chicken Kiev?  For those of you who may of missed this culinary moment (1980s) it is a chicken breast stuffed with garlic butter then crumbed and shallow fried until golden and crisp.  To be honest with a little tweeking here and there it was a delicious dinner.  The childen loved it!!

I actually brought two free range chicken’s, removed the thighs and drums sticks (which i will use on another night) and the chicken bodies will be put into good use for stocks and soups.  The breast however where used tonight for Chicken Kiev.  I did however remove the fillets of the breast and crumbed them for Freddy (our youngest). 

serves 4

4 free range chicken breast, skinned removed
4 Tbsp garlic butter (recipe below)
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 cup panko crumbs
oil for cooking

Preheat oven 200C

Garlic butter: 100g butter, softened
                        2 cloves garlic, crushed
                        handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
                        1/2 tsp fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
                        1 tsp chives, finely chopped
                        1 lemon, zest

Garlic Butter

I use a mortar and pestle for this.  If you haven’t one then a wooden spoon and bowl will do the trick.  Pound the garlic into a paste with a pinch of salt, add the herbs and mash to a pungent paste.  Add the softened butter, season with salt and pepper, add the lemon zest and mix well so all the ingredients are evenly distributed. 
Lay a sheet of glad wrap (plastic wrap) on your bench.  Place the butter length ways across it.  Try to keep it long and thin as you are wanting to keep it cylindrical. I now lift one edge of the glad wrap over the butter, ensuring that the glad wrap doesn’t get tangled in the butter.  Roll the butter in the plastic wrap, holding both ends like you are wrapping a sweet. Keep rolling the butter on the bench so it rolls into a tight butter tube.
Put into the freezer so it hardens.

Meanwhile put the flour into a dish, break the eggs and lightly whisk, put these into another dish, lastly put the panko (Japanese bread crumbs) into one more dish.  This is for crumbing the chicken.  I lay them out on my bench in order of sequence; flour – egg wash – bread crumbs – clean plate.

To prepare the chicken breasts:  Using a pointed sharp knife, put a small, deep incision into the thickest part of breast.  Now insert your fingers and move them around to loosen up the hole. 
Remove the garlic butter from the freezer and cut 2-3 large rounds (don’t forget to remove the glad wrap), push these into the cavity and continue until all the chicken breasts are done.

Crumbing:  Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper on both sides.  Put one chicken breast into the flour and coat on both sides, pat off excess flour and plunge into the egg mixture.  Finally coat in the bread crumbs, pat them onto the breast firmly and re-crumb if need be.  Set aside and continue until all breasts are crumbed. 

Preparation for crumbing

Heat a large heavy-based fry pan up to medium- high, add enough oil to coat the base of the pan.  When hot, carefully add the chicken breasts and cook until golden brown, turn over gently and cook so it is golden on both sides.  Remove to a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
Serve with the buttery juices drizzled over.

We ate our Chicken Kiev with creamy mashed potato with leeks, roast carrots and wilted spinach. 

Chicken Kiev with Mashed Potato with Leeks,
Roasted Carrots and Wilted Spinach


Today was a celebration of Autumnal food.  Small brightly coloured gem squash topped with toasted walnuts and honey, silver beet with herbed lentils and Grouper baked in a bag.

Baby gem squash
(photos Sarah Cowhey)
Fish in a bag
(photos Sarah Cowhey)
Fresh Walnuts
(photos Sarah Cowhey)

Silver Beet and Lentils
(photo Sarah Cowhey)

I would also like to thank Sarah for her persistence and enthusiasm in the rain.  Sarah is in the process of filming live footage of me demonstrating at the market.  Hopefully if all goes to plan we will soon have it available on this blog!  Pretty cool to watch and cook from home.



SILVER BEET WITH LENTILS (thanks Nigel at Brydone Growers)

Apart from being delicious, and nutritious, it makes for a wonderful dish on its own or with some pan fried fish fillets, juicy pork chop or a good quality steak.

Serves 4
1 kg silver beet
200g puy lentils or brown lentils
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp each of fresh marjoram, and parsley
1 Tbsp each of chopped fresh fennel or dill and mint leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, peeled, 3 finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp olive oil


Remove the stalks from the leaves of the silver beet and keep separated. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the stalks first and cook for 4 minutes, add the silver beet leaves and cook for a further two minutes. Drain and roughly chop, (try to keep the stalks in largish pieces).

Place the lentils into a medium size saucepan and rinse well under cold running water, drain. Cover the lentil with cold water and add 3 cloves of garlic, and the stalks from the herbs (not the mint). Gently bring to the boil, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and pick out the herb stalks and garlic. Pour in 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based fry pan or pot, add the sliced garlic and cook briefly to soften and colour. Add the silver beet stalks and let them cook in the garlic for 3-4 minutes, add half of the herbs. Stir to combine and fry briefly, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the silver beet leaves and lentils and stir gently to combine. Scatter over the remaining herbs, and drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil to serve.

Gem squash are sometimes known as cannon balls, because of their shape and colour. They are about the size of a grapefruit, dark green exterior and orange flesh.

They’re related to pumpkins and butternut squash.

Their outer skin is a tough protection for the sweet flesh inside.

Unlike pumpkins, their seeds generally aren’t eaten.

They are also a good source of beta-carotene (for vitamin A production), as well as Vitamin C and anti-oxidants.

HONEY ROAST GEM SQUASH WITH WALNUTS (thankyou to Ettrick Gardens)

Serves 2 as a side dish or starter

1-2 gem squash, cut in half, seeds removed and cut into even sized wedges
200g Fresh walnuts
2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, bruised (lightly squashed)
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp red wine vinegar
4-6 tsp good quality oil (rice bran oil)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven 200C

Place the prepared gem squash on a baking dish, drizzle over a little oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper and a one teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, toss to combine. Roast until golden and tender (10minutes) turn once through cooking.

Whilst they are cooking place the walnuts on another baking tray and toast lightly in the oven for 2-5 minutes. Give them a shake to move them around a little, you need to watch them as they will colour fast and you don’t want blackened nuts as they are bitter. Remove and set aside to cool.

In a mortar and pestle, add the garlic clove and rosemary, pound to a paste, add the walnuts and crush together, add a drop of red wine vinegar, spoon of honey and drizzle in enough olive oil to form a thick paste. Taste for seasoning and adjusting the balance it should be evenly flavoured.

Serve the hot roasted gem squash with the walnut paste drizzled over i also like to scatter over a few wild rocket or any robust pepper leaves as it adds a freshness at the end.


(walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, chestnuts)

Walnuts are high in omega-3 oils which make them a healthy snack, but also likely to go rancid quickly. Keep them in a cool, dark place and use as soon as possible. If the shell is firmly sealed you can store them for a few months.


½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups raw walnut halves
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 180C

Lay the walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes, you are wanting them lightly toasted. If not quite ready carry on cooking for another 1- 2 minutes. Bet careful not to burn them. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan.

Pour sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom. Have the walnuts nearby, ready to quickly add to the pan at the right time. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the colour is golden brown. Add the walnuts to the pan, quickly stirring and coating each piece with the sugar mixture.

As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined either non stick baking paper or a silicon sheet. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. Sprinkle the nuts with salt and let cool completely.

Michelle (owner/operator)
Edmonds Fresh Fish Supply

EDMOND’S FRESH FISH – owner operated with a shop in Green Island. They have their own fishing boats and all fish is filleted on site.  Their fish is unbelievably fresh and seasonal.  If the weather is bad and the fishing boats cannot go out then there is no fish, it is that simple.

Serves 4

4 large fillets of fish, grouper, gurnard or whatever tickles your fancy
2 lemons
4 spring onions, sliced into 2cm long pieces (use the green end as well)
4 potatoes, cooked and sliced into ½ cm slices
2 bulbs fennel, sliced thinly (reserving the leaves)
Handful cherry tomatoes
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
White wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Tin foil for wrapping

Preheat the oven 200C

Lay four large sheets of tin foil on your work surface. Divide the cooked potatoes between each parcel and place central on one half (it will be folded over). Now place the fish fillets on each, fennel slices, and cherry tomatoes, season lightly with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little oil, and scatter over the spring onions and a few fennel leaves. Garnish with a thin round of lemon.

Fold over the remaining tin foil so it neatly reaches the other side (you are not wanting to squash the fish). Tightly fold the edges together starting from one side and working to the other. When almost complete add a splash of wine and seal tightly. Continue until all the parcels are completed (this can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge).

Place carefully onto a preheated oven tray. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the parcel puffs up like a pillow. Carefully remove from the oven and serve straight away. Pop at the table and enjoy.

Any sort of fish can be cooked like this and it marries to many flavours. Try a dash of soy sauce, spring onions, chilli and ginger. The options are endless.









Mid-week and life sometimes gets a little manic, and the last thing you can be bothered to do is rustle up a “Michelin” meal.  My children love pasta in any shape, with any sauce and at any time.  I was fortunate to have worked in a pretty cool Italian restaurant (River Cafe) on my travels.  It taught me
so much about food, it ignited my passion for fine ingredients and it helped me to understand how good Italian food is and how a good plate of pasta should be.

This recipe is however not one of theirs but the ingredients are kept simple, seasonal and more importantly not mucked around with.

serves 4-6
500g vine tomatoes or 1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
pinch sugar
splash red wine vinegar or balsamic
1/2 cup good quality olives, stoned and roughly chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
500g penne pasta
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile heat a large heavy based saucepan up to medium with a generous glug of olive oil, add the garlic slivers and let cook gently until lightly golden, roughly chop the tomatoes and add juice and all. If using tinned add them along with the rosemary.  Season lightly with a little salt and pepper, a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of vinegar.  Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer (if time permitting) and cook out the sauce until a thick paste has formed.  This stage of the sauce is vital, you are not wanting an insipid watery looking sauce. It must be thick, deep red and irresistible! 
Whilst that is happening stone the olives, i use my fingers and squeeze it gently.  You can also lightly squash it on a board with a cup or something similar.  Either way be carefully of your clothes as it sprays olive juice everywhere. Add the stoned olives to the sauce and warm through.  Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning if need be.
Cook the pasta to al dente (firm to the bite) it really does make a difference to have pasta that has texture.  I suggest following the instructions on the packet as times vary.
Once the pasta is al dente, drain immediately, reserving a little liquid just encase.  Add the pasta to the tomato and olive sauce, toss together well, if too dry add a spoon or two of the cooking liquid, a grating of Parmesan and serve.





The sun shone beautifully today in Dunedin.  The market was bustling and the mobile kitchen had a happy, enthusiastic crowd eager to sample today’s wonderful fare.

It is so great to have a kitchen with appliances and they work!! Thanks to securing funding the mobile kitchen now has a oven, fridge, new burners, hot water and a lower more accessible front. 

Alison at work in the mobile kitchen

Today i would like to thank the following vendors for their support and for giving us all a sample of their wonderful produce..



Apart from being delicious, this soup is quick, nutritious and comforting. It is a great way to use up your Broccoli when it is getting past its best.

Serves 6

300g broccoli
30g butter
1 medium onion
200g bacon ends
3 smallish potatoes
1.5 litres of chicken stock
150 ml milk

Method and preparation

Peel the onion, chop it roughly and soften it in the butter in a deep pan, do not let it colour! Stir in half the bacon, cut into smallish pieces (keep the remaining pieces for later), then the potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small pieces. Let the ingredients blend together without colouring for at least 10 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, adding salt and pepper as you go. Turn the heat down so that the mixture simmers gently for fifteen to twenty minutes or so, till the potatoes will collapse against slight pressure from the back of a spoon.

Add the broccoli, which is trimmed of any tough stalks, and simmer for ten minutes. You want the broccoli to keep as much of its brilliant green colour as possible. Pour in the milk, simmer briefly, then process the mixture in a blender till smooth, checking the seasoning as you do so. Grill the remaining bacon till crisp, then the serve the soup in warm bowls, each with a piece of crisp bacon on its surface.


POTATO TARTIFLETTE – potatoes, bacon and curd cheese

Evansdale Cheese make these wonderful curds, which are so versatile. Use them in sweet and savoury tarts, gratins, bakes on your favourite pizza. Curds are great eaten as they are, but they are especially good as a melting cheese.

serves 6

1kg good quality potatoes – Desiree
1 medium onion
200g bacon ends (Waitaki)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter or duck fat
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup crème fraiche or heavy whipping cream if you don’t have crème fraiche
1/2 cup dry white wine
250g curd cheese
Fresh parsley

Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices.
Roughly chop the onion.
Heat the butter in a heavy skillet and add the onions, bacon and sauté gently for 3-5 minutes.
Add the potatoes and continue to sauté for 5 more minutes.
Add the wine, give the potatoes a stir, cover, season with salt and pepper as desired, and let simmer and steam in the wine for 10 minutes more.
Grease the gratin pan with duck fat, crush the garlic clove, and rub the garlic clove all over the inner surface of the pan.
Reserve the remaining garlic for another use (the vinaigrette for the accompanying salad, for example).
Add the crème fraiche to the potato onion bacon mixture, and transfer it to the gratin pan
sprinkle the cheese on top and place in a very hot oven and bake for 10 minutes at 220C
Turn the heat down to 200C and bake 10 more minutes
Turn off the oven, and leave the dish in the oven without opening it for another 10 minutes.
– Serve hot with a salad, crusty bread, and the wine you cooked with.



½ cup of fresh raspberries
½ cup sour cream or crème fraiche
4 Tbsp dark brown sugar

Method and preparation

Preheat your oven to 200C

Divide raspberries into single layers in 4 shallow, oven-proof baking dishes.
Gently spread 2 tablespoons of sour cream over each portion of raspberries, completely covering them.
Sprinkle dark brown sugar over the sour cream, using 1 tablespoon for each dish.
Place dishes on a baking sheet.
Bake for 5 minutes.
Serve immediately.


Wow it is cold, it is hard to believe it is not winter.  Days like this make me want to bake. 


When it comes to classics this sure is one. I first encountered this amazing salad after a morning snowboarding in the French Alps.  And as you do in France you order something simple and get delivered a dish too remember.

This salad requires only a few ingredients but ensure that they are good quality. Dress the salad only before you are about to devour it and always dress the salad, actually all salads must be dressed in a bowl and tossed lightly so that all the components of the salad are coated in the dressing.  There is nothing worse than a salad that has dressing squirted on top.  If you order a salad and one like turns up at your table send it back and ask for a “proper” one!


Something’s in life are just a classic and this is one of them. It doesn’t need adjusting; it just needs market fresh ingredients. This salad says it all!

Serves 4

4 free range eggs

250-300 g good quality bacon, cut into lardons (bacon ends are good for this)

1 head frisee lettuce, washed well and drained
½ cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup finely chopped chives
80 ml olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp grain mustard
1 garlic clove bruised

40g butter, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
12 chunks of torn up old bread or 12 slices of a baguette


Ensure the frisee lettuce is washed well and drained, set aside.

Make the croutons by melting the butter and oil together in a frying pan over medium-high heat until butter foams, then cook bread in batches, turning once until golden (1-2 minutes). Remove and drain on kitchen paper, when cool enough to handle break into large pieces. Place into a large bowl with the frisee, parsley and chives. Set aside.

Bring a medium size pot ½ full with water to a gently simmer, add a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt, (we will be poaching the eggs in this later).

Meanwhile, heat 20 ml oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add bacon and garlic, sauté until crisp (3-4 minutes). Transfer with a slotted spoon to frisee mixture (discard garlic).

Break the eggs into four cups or ramekins and pour into the gently boiling water, and poached to your liking (3-4 minutes for soft yolks).

Add remaining oil and vinegar to the fry-pan that you cooked the bacon in, mix to combine, season to taste and remove from heat. Drizzle over salad, toss lightly to combine, divide among serving plates and serve topped with a poached egg.



Finally back at the Otago Farmers Market on Saturday just gone.  It was a clear, fresh start to the day and i was excited to be back.  The mobile kitchen was delivered at 6.00am, it has a new oven, fridge, stove tops and hot water and best of all the front of the kitchen has been lowered so you guys can now actually see what i am cooking. 

LIMOUSIN HEALTHY BEEF – Hormone free, low fat, low cholesterol and only 14 km from farm to plate!

One of the most frequently asked questions being a chef is how to cook a great steak! It has to start from the beginning – the meat! It needs to have had a good life, (a bit like us, stress free), hormone free and a good environment from start to finish.

HOW TO COOK A GREAT STEAK – When selecting your meat, have a look at the colour, you don’t want bright red, it needs to be aged. Fine marbling is an indicator of flavour, and lean meat should be tender. The cut depends on what you are wanting it for – thick / thin – lean/ fatty…

Varieties – Fillet
– Rib-eye (scotch fillet)
– Sirloin
– Rump/porterhouse
– T-bone

Have steaks out of fridge for at least ½ an hour before cooking. Season well with cracked black pepper and only season with salt just before you cook it as it will draw out the moisture from the meat. A little drizzle of oil and do the same to the other side.

Heat up a good heavy-base fry pan or griddle pan until almost smoking. You need it super hot as you want the meat to sear instantly.

Once your pan is HOT carefully add the steak. If you are cooking for the family try not to over crowd the pan. If necessary use two pans! Try not to prod and prick the steak, leave it so is sears and caramelises – depending on how well you like your steak. You only need to cook an average steak for 3-4 minutes on both sides. The next vital step is to let the meat rest, simply remove the meat from the pan and transfer on to a warm plate and cover with foil. Quickly return the pan back to the heat and add a glug of red wine, beef stock or even water, swirl around pan so all the delicious little caramelised pieces of flavour are removed from the bottom and get incorporated into you sauce. Once the liquid has bubbled and reduced remove from heat and add a couple of knobs of cold butter, swirl round to emulsify into your sauce, you may need salt and pepper. Simply drizzle your sauce over the steak and enjoy every mouthful….!

SAVOY CABBAGE – thanks to fantastic growers like Nigel from Brydone Organic Growers near Oamaru, we get to devour such unbelievably fresh and tasty seasonal produce.   He is at the farmers market pretty much every Saturday with his outstanding produce.  Nigel is also very approachable and knowledge when it comes to gardening and what is coming into season, i also think he knows a thing or two about cars….
Cabbages are true value for money, they can be used in salads, soups, pickled, rolled with stuffing and of course as an accompaniment to your meal.
Savoy cabbages have a ruffled green exterior and taste a little sweeter, they can be used as you would a typical white cabbage.



Serves 4
1 firm Savoy cabbage, very finely shredded
6 anchovy fillets in oil
4 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 thick slices of day old bread, rubbed with garlic clove, cut or torn into cubes
20g butter
Black pepper to taste

Fry the bread cubes in the hot butter with a dash of oil until crisp, drain.
Grind the anchovies to a paste with the olive oil and vinegar.
Mix the cabbage with the anchovy sauce, season with pepper and serve with the croutons.


Serves 4

1 whole savoy cabbage, sliced finely, wash and drain
1 tsp caraway seeds
25g butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Add the butter and caraway seeds to a pot or fry pan large enough to hold the cabbage. Heat gently to cook the caraway seeds for about 20 seconds, add the cabbage, season lightly with salt and pepper and give it a brief stir. Put a lid on the pot and cook for until the cabbage softens (6-10 minutes). If it is looking to dry add a couple of spoons of water. Check the seasoning, serve. Great with a steak and mash!

Wilowbrook Orchard located on the banks of clutha river in Roxburgh east supplies our market with exceptional fruit week in week out.  This week we used Johns Cox’s Apple which is an old school variety, slightly tart in taste, firm texture and delicious when cooked.


This is a classic French dessert, it can be prepared in advance and cooked off whilst eating your main meal. It is also delicious with pears or peaches.

Serves 6

6 tart apples                                      
2 Tbsp lemon juice
200g sugar
30g unsalted butter, cubed
250g puff pastry

Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters. Place in a large bowl and toss in the lemon juice and 100g sugar.

Place remaining sugar and 2 tablespoons water in an oven-proof frying pan or 25cm tarte Tatin pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes until the sugar caramelises and is a light-golden brown. Add the apple, cut-side up and dot with the butter. Keeping the heat very low, cook for a further 5-6 minutes to partially cook the apple. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Roll out pastry and cut into a circle slightly larger than the pan. Place the pastry over the apple, tucking any excess underneath. Place the pan on a baking tray to catch any juices that may bubble over and bake in the oven for 35 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden. Remove from oven and allow to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the tart upside down onto a large plate. Serve with cream or ice-cream.