Cauliflower Rice

I heard my favourite radio DJ’s talking about how great Cauliflower Rice was; I nodded in agreement as I drove to work. Polly had not heard of this and asked “How do you make rice from cauliflower?”

There are two the techniques for making cauliflower rice. You can either use a grater traditionally used for cheese, or a food processor with the grate blade to blitz it into small pieces.  With both techniques you’re aiming for little pieces.

One you have your cauliflower rice, it’s super easy to cook! Simply sauté in a large pan over a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Use the lid to cover so the cauliflower steams and becomes tender.  Cook for 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally, then season to your taste.


Late last year the cauliflower rice ‘fad’ hit the news and I climbed onboard that train with many others. It’s light and fluffy, like couscous, but totally healthy – and very simple to make.

I have discovered subsequently leftover uncooked ‘rice’ freezes beautifully – I whipped up some Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles from leftovers a couple of months ago.

Not only is this a super healthy alternative to traditional rice, it is much quicker to cook – and the kids love it 🙂

Happy cooking xx


Eggplant Parmesan

I discovered eggplant last year, and when it is not so ridiculously priced ($5.00 each!) I make sure to pick one up with my fruit & vegetable shopping. I have found them to be a vegetable that I can use to ‘make something quick and tasty from nothing’ if you know what I mean?

Eggplants, or ‘Aubergines’ if you feel like being fancy and French! are considered a fruit – and is related to the tomato and the potato. It is used in many different cuisines, including curries and one of my favourites chutney.  I made a very tasty chutney last year:  Chutney Anyone? So Easy & So Delish!

Eggplant is often stewed and I have made my version of the French ratatouille which is diced onions, tomatoes courgettes, capsicums with garlic, marjoram and basil all piled into a pan and cooked! Very simple and really good with a poach egg on top for a quick and easy breakfast.

This recipe does take a little prep time, however is well worth it. It makes a nice side dish to a steak, or grilled chicken breast and is equally happy being the centre of attention – the main course for a happy vegetarian 🙂


  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into circles about 1cm thick
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup Italian or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 cups chunky marinara sauce
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c
  2. Pour milk into a shallow bowl and bread crumbs onto a plate. Dip each slice of eggplant in the milk, moistening each side. Then press on to bread crumbs making sure both sides are thoroughly coated. Place slices on a baking sheeted tray and bake until tender: about 25 minutes.
  3. Spoon some marinara sauce, about 1/4 cup, onto the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices and cover with more sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella over the sauce, then repeat the layering until your’ve reached the end of your eggplant slices. Top the slices with the last of the sauce and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let the eggplant set for about 10 minutes before serving.


Happy cooking xx


Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles

Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles

Last weekend I ventured into the exciting new world of waffles after purchasing my very first waffle maker. Blueberry Waffles were my first attempt and they were a big success with the chief tester.

These airy, delicate and crisp-edged waffles were so fabulous, yet so simple to throw together, that they are destined to become part of our weekend breakfast routine. You can freeze leftovers, if you have any, and serve them during the week. You can pop them in the toaster to reheat (use a light setting) and they come out nearly as well as freshly made, maybe even slightly crunchier.

During the week I had considered what other ingredients I could use to make a different type of waffle. I had mentioned sweet potato, or Kumara, as we know it in New Zealand, and cauliflower as a couple of thoughts.

Late last year the cauliflower rice ‘fad’ hit the news and I climbed onboard that train with many others. It’s light and fluffy, like couscous, but totally healthy – and very simple to make.

There are two the techniques for making cauliflower rice. You can either use a grater traditionally used for cheese, or a food processor with the grate blade to blitz it into small pieces.  With both techniques you’re aiming for little pieces.

One you have your cauliflower rice, it’s super easy to cook! Simply sauté in a large pan over a medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Use the lid to cover so the cauliflower steams and becomes tender.  Cook for 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally, then season to your taste.


Anyway, I made a recipe that used cauliflower rice and ended up with leftover blitzed cauliflower so I popped it into a ziplock bag and out it in the freezer.  When I got up on Saturday morning thinking about my next great waffle, I grabbed the frozen cauliflower rice rom the freezer and this became my base for my first savoury waffle.


  • 1 cup raw cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (or grated colby if you don’t have mozzarella cheese)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • fresh parsley

Heat the waffle maker until ready. Mix all of the ingredients together well in a large bowl. Add approx. 1 1/4 cups of the batter to the griddle. Set your timer to 4-6 minutes, and check at about the 4 minute mark. If the waffle maker sticks, let cook slightly longer. Remove once cooked, and allow to cool on plate.

These crispy waffles with a side of bacon and an egg made the most delicious brunch and got the thumbs up from the chief tester!

*I did find the mix got a little wet as the cauliflower rice defrosted waiting to be the second batch so I add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. This did not have a negative impact on the flavour profile but does add gluten to what is otherwise a gluten-free recipe)



If you have only gone sweet with your waffles, do give this savoury version an opportunity.  Without the flour it is gluten-free; and only the cook will know it is made with the cauliflower rice.

I’m thinking I will add spinach to this next time, and perhaps sundered tomatoes to really jazz up my Cheesy Cauliflower Waffles.  The options are really limitless and I’m looking forward to next weekend and something different again. Watch this space :

Happy waffling xx

Quick Apple Strudel just for two

Quick Apple Strudel 

Is it just me or does the winter season make you think of a warm pudding too?

At our house we have really tried hard to eliminate those dreadful carbs during the week day evening meals – no mashed potatoes or roast potatoes for us. Instead of spaghetti noodles I am diligently making courgette zoodles and proclaiming them to be just as nice. And for the most part with a very tasty sauce they really are pretty good.

Definitely no pudding for either of us either as we try very hard to be good and consider our diet. A nice cup of tea with no cookie is as good as it gets.

However after several carb-free dinners, and another cold wet winters day, avoiding the call of a hot pudding was too much to resist! Talk about comfort food cravings 🙂 I had left home in the dark to ensure I avoided the worst of the Auckland traffic whichususally grinds to a slow halt when the weather is bad (which it was..) By the time I got home in the evening it was, you guessed it, dark and still raining.

It was like an emergency moment in time; What ingredients were in the pantry that I could rustle up a hot and yummy pudding with? Ah! A tin of apples, dried fruit, a drawer of spices, dried fruit and some filo pastry – I knew these few things alone could create something that would not only taste divine but create an aroma that would make you forget your diet 🙂


  • 3 sheets of filo pastry
  • 1/4 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1 x 415grams apple slices
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon icing sugar

Mix apple, sultanas, ground cloves, mixed spice together.

Lay pastry sheets under a damp tea-towel, sprinkling breadcrumbs between each sheet.

Spread apple mixture down centre of pastry to within 3 cm of the ends. Mix melted butter and icing sugar together and brush around edges of pastry. Roll one long end of pastry layer over filling and roll as far a sponge. Place on a baking tray.

Brush with remaining butter mixture. Slash the strudel top with a knife.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 200 C or until pastry is lightly golden and cooked.

Serve warm with a dollop of something low-fat!

Using filo pastry should be considered a low-fat option when it comes to pastry. It is a great option to be fair and you don't lose anything with the flavour with the crunchy texture more than making up for taking the healthier option. Filo, which means 'leaf' in Greek, tissue-thin sheets of dough that have very little fat. Because it does not have much fat, the sheets are usually brushed with melted butter or oil and then layered together. When it bakes up, the layers get airy, crisp and flaky.

Quick, easy and very scrummy – this is a dish that makes the traditional Apple Strudel acheiveable any week night for the family. The children will enjoy it, and they can indulge with a nice smooth custard sauce. You and me?  Well it's a nice dollop of low fat Greek yoghurt 🙂

Happy strudelling xx



Blueberry Waffles for Brunch

Blueberry Waffles 30th July 2017

I have hankered after a waffle maker for some time now – and this weekend I finally bought one!

I did my due diligence online before heading to a store in; yes I could have ordered it to be delivered to my front door – but where is the fun in that! A girl has to look at it, feel it, chat to the shop assistant to hear about any feedback on the product and happily pack it in the car. 🙂

The waffle maker of my choice has a set of flat plates that can be switched in to toast a sandwich so I felt more than a little satisfied with my purchase; it really is two in one! Doesn't that make this a smarter purchase? Well that is my story for the hubby and I'm sticking to it!

For my first foray into waffles I decided to go with a basic recipe. I had spent the day before at the Auckland Food Show and brought home a jar of Heilala Vanilla paste so this was the inspiration. I love using vanilla paste and value the exceptional taste this adds to any baking I do.

Here's the list of ingredients and instructions on making your first sweet waffle…


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence (or Heilala Vanilla paste)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Place ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine until well mixed and smooth. Let batter rest for 5 minutes.

Pour 1 cup batter onto the centre of the waffle pan, spreading out the batter evenly with a spatula.

Close the cover of the waffle maker and set your timer for 4 minutes.

Open cover and gently remove the gorgeous deliciousness baked waffle!

Top with blueberry sauce (see recipe below), Greek yoghurt and a dusting of icing sugar.

Blueberry Sauce
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

Add all of the ingredients into a small pan over a low heat. Once the mixture starts to bubble, let it gently boil for about 1 minute stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and allow mixture to simmer for about 6 minutes. And that's it 🙂

I served the waffles with my home made blueberry sauce and a dollop of Greek yoghurt on the side – and on a breakfast tray in bed!

My husband was surprised when I exclaimed how delicious my first ever waffle tasted; you see I had never ever eaten one before. Deprived of this deliciousness for all my life 🙂

But armed with some ideas on how to make Cauliflower rice waffles, and Kumara waffles I am going to ensure waffles are on the menu very regularly now – healthy options that is…although I have to say the sweet version was pretty good the next day too.

Heat the leftover waffles in the toaster the next day mmmmm……just about as good as same day freshness.

Happy waffle days ahead xx

Leftovers again? What was I to do? Time to get a bit creative in the kitchen…..

I shared with you a recipe from a young friend who had lived in a student flat on a meagre income while he was studying. It was a delicious and heartwarming chicken stew made from the leftover roast chicken from Sunday night.

That 300 grams of leftover roast chicken made a really tasty dinner which we enjoyed very much – the chief tester declared it a keeper which is always a good sign. Great I thought – I’ll file the recipe away for another time. But what do you do when there is leftover chicken stew? This was becoming one of those ongoing dilemma’s for this household of just two.

I was lacking inspiration and very nearly resorted to making hot buttered toast and reheating the stew and calling that dinner. Nothing wrong with that as an option – but I’m one of those souls who prefers to eat something different every night. I’m not that enamoured of a meal repeated unless it is Lemon Croissant Pudding for two – Decadent Indulgence! of course and I could happily have this twice in a  row!


I’m going to call this ‘Rustic Chicken Filo Pie’ – for the sake of my reputation within the family as a ‘not too bad cook’! Sounds fancy eh?

Seriously I took some store-bought filo pastry from the refrigerator, and that leftover chicken stew from the night before and voila!

Filo or phyllo is very thin sheets of pastry commonly used in Greek, eastern European and Middle Eastern cuisines. It can be used for sweet dishes and savoury, and is known to be a healthier alternative to a flaky pastry. The pastry is made from flour and water with fat in the form of melted butter, spread or oil brushed on the layers as they are assembled for your recipe.

Lay a sheet of filo on a clean bench and take a pastry brush and brush olive oil on the sheet – I find this easier than melted butter.

Fold a sheet in half and lay in the bottom of a pie dish – repeat with another sheet of filo pastry to ensure the bottom the pie dish is covered.

Spoon in your leftover chicken stew.

Oil another sheet of filo pastry and then ‘scrunch’ it up in your hand, and place it on top of the stew. Repeat s-3 times depending on the size of your pie dish.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and pop into a hot oven for 30 minutes or until hot through.

And thankfully this was the leftover roast chicken, transformed to that delicious chicken stew and then finally into the ‘Rustic Filo Pie’ finished!

Kidding aside, this is the sort of cooking our mum’s and nana’s did when we were younger. A Sunday roast chicken fed the family, and their was always something leftover for another meal. The carcass became stock for soup, and the leftover chicken meat made its way into a risotto or if we were really lucky into our school lunch box. A chicken sandwich was always so much nicer than jam or peanut butter one!

In this season of saving towards first homes, and one income while at home with the children, it’s not a bad thing to know how to save a few dollars. With a little thought it’s possible to do this with family meals if you get back to basics.

Happy leftovers xx


What to do with leftover roast chicken – make a chicken stew of course!

The household numbers just the two of us these days with the children all grown and living away from home.   So the days of cooking a roast chicken and making sausage meat balls to make the chicken go further are long gone and replaced with the other end of the scale issue – leftovers!

I have made a chicken risotto, chicken soup – and chicken enchiladas with the leftovers before. Some time ago a young work colleague told me about his favourite thing to do with his leftover chicken and I thought I would give it a go. 


  • 1 leftover roast chicken, stripped of meat (approx 300 grams)
  • Olive oil
  • 4 rashers of bacon, finely sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, diced into 2 cm pieces
  • Fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200 grams button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 heaped tablespoon flour
  • Salt & pepper

Place the carcass in a large pot and break it up with a potato masher – cover with 1 litre of water, bring to the boil, then simmer for at least 30 minutes.

I used my Corning Ware casserole dish for the next stage of the cooking – I was given this as a wedding gift from my Uncle and Aunty in 1984 would you believe? It has been a great dish to own as you can cook with it on the stove top or in the oven – a super versatile dish which has been a well used over the years.  

Splash some olive oil in your pan, and add the bacon to cook for a few minutes. Add the onion, carrots, potatoes along with the fresh thyme and bay leaves. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in the mushrooms, and chicken, along with the heaped tablespoon of flour.

Pour the stock through a sieve straight into the pan, and let simmer for 40 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt & pepper to taste. IMG_0222.png

I served the stew on a mash of sweet potato for a quick and simple dinner during the week – if I had more time I would have made old-fashioned dumplings and popped these on top of the stew in the last 20 minutes of cooking time for a change, with a side of green beans!

A glass of red wine and you are set for a heartwarming meal that really is delicious – and a lovely change from using the leftover roast chicken in a risotto 🙂

Happy winter meals xx

Pinot Noir Chocolate Cake – yes really!

Does your letterbox get flooded with loads of retail brochures, and real estate flyers? Ours too – and after the long weekend of Queens Birthday there were even more than normal!  As an aside I did wonder how the retailers would feel if they knew that the flyers arrived ‘after’ the weekend when the sales were advertised for as I browsed through them 🙂

In amongst the paper recycling were the normal Real Estate advertising  ‘ I’ve sold more houses in your street’ flyers which I generally give no more than a cursory glance too, however I did spy something a little different from the norm – a recipe.

Clever agent I thought – as I unfolded the whole flyer to see what else I might find amongst the housing news.  “Housing market flat – Auckland values down – restricted lending by banks” – nothing new in there. So back to the recipe I went.

Pinot Noir Chocolate Cake


  • 90 grams softened butter
  • 170 grams brown sugar
  • 60 grams caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Pinot Noir
  • 3/4 cup cherries
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°c – and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.

Cream the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla – ( I like to use vanilla paste however essence is just fine).

Mix in the red wine gently, and then sift into the mixer all of the dry ingredients. Add the chopped chocolate in next. Do not over mix, as you fold in the cherries.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until your cake skewer is clean from mix when you test the cake.

Now the Real Estate agent calls this a ‘lavish cake, velvety and moist’ and she was not wrong. The Pinot Noir compliments the cherries with complex fruit undertones – goodness now I sound like a wine connoisseur not a humble home baker 🙂

Serve with an unsweetened thick yoghurt to cut through the sweetness; trust me you’ll need it if you ice the cake like I did. 

A nice hot black coffee or if you feel like continuing the indulgence, a glass of that Pinot Noir will be a lovely accompaniment in front of a roaring fire, and a candle-lit room….oops sorry day dreaming just a little!

Oh, and the moral of the story? read those pesky flyers from cover to cover as you never know what useful information or recipe may be lurking amongst the propaganda 🙂

Happy baking xx

Lemon Croissant Pudding for two – Decadent Indulgence!

Last weekend I met my girlfriend at La Cigale Market in Parnell – she lives out South and I live on the North Shore, so nearly a half-way point, and a great place for a nice weekend brunch, and a catch-up.

I enjoy the markets and La Cigale is no exception. Every Saturday from 8am to 1.30pm you will find the an amazing selection of wonderful products from New Zealand artisan producers and growers as well as overseas. You can buy fresh produce, fresh breads and pastries – and lots of fresh fish, cheeses and chutney’s. So much, you really need to go there and experience it!

The croissants were too  good to pass by and I paid for just two, and thought they would be lovely for a late lunch with fresh cheese and a slice of champagne ham with the chief tester later in the day.

By the time I got home after a late brunch and a delicious hot chocolate the fresh croissants were packed away in the pantry for another time – someone’s eyes were bigger than her tummy!

Sunday came and I looked at the brown paper bag with those croissants, as I considered dinner for the evening ahead. I remembered making a bread & butter style pudding with croissants some years ago, and thought – why not? It was about time I made something nice for desert in our house – the chief tester would be impressed 🙂


  • 2 large croissants
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1//4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs

To Serve

  • icing sugar for dusting
  • thick plain yoghurt
  • berry coulis (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 180°c.

Cut the croissants in half. Spread the cut sides with lemon curd and arrange in a baking dish.

Whisk all the remaining ingredients together and pour over the croissants. Leave for 15 minute, regularly spooning the egg mixture over the pieces of croissant so they are all soaked in custard.

Place the pudding in a roasting dish and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. (This will ensure the lemon custard is lovely and silky when cooked).

Bake for 25-30 minutes – the custard should bow just set around the croissants.

To serve: Dust the pudding with icing sugar and s serve with yoghurt and berry coulis.

Lemon Croissant Pudding

Raspberry Coulis – I keep a jar of home-made raspberry coulis in the refrigerator all year round. It comes in very handy and has turned a simple dessert into something a bit more special on more than one occasion.  Here’s my version for you:

  • 4 cups raspberries, frozen
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons water

Place the berries in a large pot and add sugar, water and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer.

Blend the cornflour with water to make a smooth paste and add to the berries.

Bring to the boil, stirring constantly to ensure the mixture does not catch on the bottom of the pot. Cook for 5 minutes.

Pour into a bottle when the mixture has cooled, and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

I call this ‘decadent indulgence’ and any pudding made with french flaky pastry is I suppose? But really we should all treat ourselves once in a while – you know you deserve it!

Happy indulging xx