Archive for August, 2012

New Cook Book

Ahem! Two steps forward… one step backward. That’s how my addiction to cookbooks is going…

In my defense, after the disaster roast dinner I decided I would never cook a roast dinner for those people again. Instead, I will cook things that will ‘hold’ well if someone is late – and they probably will be…  Anyway casseroles and tagines seem to fill the bill –  and I love Middle-Eastern flavours.

I’ve already made one recipe from my new book… Spicy Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Rosemary and Ginger… stunning… and so easy!

I don’t eat couscous (wheat is BAD for you – remember?) – and I no longer cook those things for Rick either, but the book is really good in that, despite the title, there are just a few couscous recipes – so I don’t feel I paid for a whole pile of recipes I won’t use.

I stirred in a whole pile of home-grown spinach at the last minute. We both loved it.


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I had a dinner-party disaster a few weeks ago… so bad that my confidence was VERY dented.

We had invited some friends and bought an expensive piece of pork to roast (these friends don’t ‘do’ roasts – they make a mess of your oven (!) When these people want a roast dinner, they phone the butcher and arrange to collect their roast (perfectly cooked) at whatever time suits them…)

Anyway, all was well until one couple turned up late… an hour late…

I will never cook a roast meal for visitors again. Experiments in Tajines and casseroles are ongoing… and I bought a new cook-book 🙂 – more on that another day…

But, I found this recipe for roast pork in our local newspaper recently. It’s by Ruth Pretty – who is one of NZ’s best caterers (I go to her cooking school each year for her “Christmas” class – it’s such a huge treat). In my experience, Ruth’s recipes never fail, and I love that she tells you how far ahead you can do each part. I’ve included her recipe for Apple Sauce – though I haven’t made it yet. The fennel rub for the pork is absolutely delicious. The roast was wonderful and the leftover meat the next day was very moreish… confidence somewhat restored… thank you Ruth.


Recipe by Ruth Pretty

8 cloves garlic
2 tsp rosemary leaves – finely chopped
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
whizz all together and rub generously all over pork before you roast it.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days
Apple Shallot Sauce
2 apples – peeled, cored and cut into 12 wedges
145g onion – peeled and cut into wedges (or 16 shallots)
8 garlic cloves – peeled, halved
1 bottle sauvignon blanc
1 cup tart apple syrup (use maple syrup if you can’t get this)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 tbsp brown sugar
Put the apples, onions, garlic and wine into a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and lightly boil for 40 – 45 minutes until the liquid is syrupy and the vegetables are soft.
Add the balsamic vinegar
Remove from heat and add brown sugar to taste.
Cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Re-heat to serve

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Because I’m the kind of cook who needs a recipe… and because that ‘instant’ mayonnaise is so good…


Roast 9 large cloves of garlic (toss garlic cloves in oil, wrap tightly in foil and roast at 180c for 20 minutes)
Add to blender when you’re making the basic mayonnaise
Caesar Mayonnaise
To the basic mayonnaise add – 1 tbsp capers, 1 tsp chopped anchovies, 2 cloves garlic, chopped parsley and grated parmesan
Tartare Sauce
1 large gherkin, 1 tbsp capers, dill
Chilli and Lime
2 tsp chilli sauce, 1/4 tsp minced garlic, lime juice and zest
Avocado Mayonnaise (thanks to Judith for this idea)
1/2 a large, or 1 small avocado blended in to basic mayonnaise
Lime and Coriander
1 tsp wholeseed mustard, 2 tsp runny hunny, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 bunch fresh coriander – chopped
Spiced Mayonnaise
toast 2 tsp of whatever spice – cool, then add to mayonnaise either whole, or ground
Fennel Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds, lightly crushed; 1/2 tsp Pernod (optional); 2 tbsp chopped fennel fronds
Truffle Mayonnaise
Add 3 tsp truffle oil to mayonnaise

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…through the kitchen window – Percy and Poppy enjoying a patch of sunshine…

The magnolia on the front lawn is stunning this year – as is the red camelia…

…muscari on the table at the back door…

… progress of sorts – they’re all on our bed together… no snarling…

…on her bed, which is in Rick’s chair… she likes to stretch out…

…close up…






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Rick is very keen on sport – watching – not doing 🙂

While he was away I watched none – going so far as to completely forget the Olympics were on and thus missing the opening ceremony.

He’s back now, and sport is all that is on. .. which is how I came to be watching some of the gymnasts… tiny little girls – hurling themselves through the air, balancing on skinny little beams several feet above the ground… around them  noise – much noise – listen to the racket going on while this girl is performing…


We also watch professional tennis and golf. People who earn insanely vast sums of money doing what they do… and who demand absolute silence in which to do it.

The contrast makes me want to smack their heads together. They need focus and concentration – of course they do, but you can’t tell me the little gymnasts do not. The only difference is the money that can be earned – oh and when was the last time a miss-cued golf or tennis shot might cause the player to break his neck?

If I ruled the world there would be no way any sportsperson (or movie star for that matter) would be paid on a scale which would be more reasonable if they were discovering a way in which everyone in the world could have clean water to drink (for example).


Ok, rant over.

On a positive note – we have gone three days with no peeing inside, and 8 or 9 with no pooping!

My little girl is growing up 🙂

EDIT: Or perhaps not…. she just rushed in from outside – where she had been sprinting backwards and forwards across the lawn like a loon – to pee in a corner of the laundry – where there is NO LITTER BOX!


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Something I found on Pinterest… which puts everything into perspective…


I changed it from the Pinterest option – to YouTube… should be MUCH easier  to find XO

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