spring, autumn, winter, summer

kumara & chickpea fritters with cumin spiced onions & garlic yoghurt

kumar, carrot  & chickpea fritters

kumar, carrot  & chickpea fritters

Helloooooo - I'm so excited to be posting my first 'made-for-peas-&-pine-nuts' recipe! This turned out to be the most delicious experiment, so much so that Nick and I were planning on going out for dinner to one of our favourite restaurants (Coco's Cantina) but have decided to stay home and finish the rest of these instead. Sweet cumin spiced kumara (sweet potato) works beautifully with red onions, fresh mint and garlicky yoghurt - a little marriage made in heaven :) 

Before we get down to business, just the stuff of the day - Rich is over at our cabins (I use that word very loosely) on Waiheke island, and we were supposed to be joining him this afternoon...but the car ferries were cancelled so consequently Rich has the place to himself, with three friends coming to stay - and we won't get there until tomorrow. Let the fun begin (!!!) Hopefully all will still be in one piece when we arrive...

...and now to the recipe! Super easy and delicious, here we go:


450g peeled kumara (sweet potato) chopped into really large chunks

1 large carrot, halved lengthways and cut into 4 pieces

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp runny honey

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) and line a roasting dish with baking paper.  Put the kumara and carrot onto the baking paper and sprinkle with cumin. Drizzle with oil and honey and roast 40 minutes then leave to cool for a bit.


1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/3 cup flour

2 tbsp coconut oil or rice bran oil

Drain kumara and carrot from roasting juices (reserve). Put kumara, carrot and chickpeas in a food processor and pulse to mash up a bit. Add coriander leaves and spices and pulse again until a chunky paste. Tip into a bowl and stir through flour until smooth. Heat oil in a large frying pan and scoop out double tablespoons of mixture, form into rough patties as you go (it's sticky but good - don't hate me, it's just goobey hands for a minute), and drop into pan, cook 2-3 minutes each side, over a medium heat until golden. Makes 6-8 depending on the size. Serve with watercress tossed in oil and lemon, mint leaves, spiced onions and garlic yoghurt - which you can also drizzle with reserved roasting 'juices' (oil and honey) from the kumara and carrot.  Serves 4 for breakfast or 2 for lunch/ dinner, and the recipe can easily be doubled.


2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 red onions, finely sliced

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp honey

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Heat oil over a medium heat and add cumin seeds. Fry 1 minute then add onions, salt, pepper and honey and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for 20 minutes. Add vinegar and cook a further 5-10 minutes. Put aside.


1/2 cup natural yoghurt

1 small clove garlic

1 cup watercress

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup mint leaves

1/2 tsp chilli flakes, optional, for sprinkling


Add garlic to yoghurt and leave to sit for half an hour.

Mix oil and lemon together and toss through watercress. 

kumara, carrot & chickpea fritters with caramelised onion & garlic yoghurt

Easy like Sunday morning poached eggs with avocado, hummus & dukkah


Breakfast for 2:


4 pieces Vogels or other wholegrain  toast

4 eggs - super fresh ideally free range / organic

2 tbsp white vinegar

1/2 cup hummus (I used garlic hummus)

1 avocado

1/4 cup dukkah


Bring a reasonably large pot of water to the boil, reduce to a simmer, add vinegar then one by one, crack an egg into a cup and slip gently into the water. Simmer for 3 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon. Spread toast with hummus and top each slice with quarter of the avocado and an egg and sprinkle with hummus. Dig in!


Sarah's Walnut, Pinenut and Pumpkin Seed Dukkah:



1 cup hazelnuts (or walnuts)

1/3 cup almonds (or pumpkin seeds)

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup sesame seeds


Seeds and spices:

2 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tbsp fennel seeds

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp red chilli flakes

2 tsp flaky sea salt

1 tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)



I am taking some liberties with the labelingof nuts and seeds to make the instructions simpler...Heat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Put nuts on one tray and seeds and spices on another tray. Bake together in the oven for 10 minutes until nuts are lightly toasted and seeds and spices are fragrant. (If using hazelnuts separate them off, and after toasting, rub them between two tea towels to get most of the skins off - not as much of a faff as it sounds.) Cool on trays then put nutsin a food processorand grind seeds and spices in a mortar and pestle. Add seeds and spices to nuts and and pulse briefly so that they are all combined and the nuts are ground into chunks - I like them to have some texture, not be completely sandy butter! Add black sesame seeds and transfer to an airtight container then use for sprinkling on anything that takes your fancy.

spring, summer, seafood

super spring salad with watercress, salmon, oranges, fennel and hazelnuts

super spring salad with watercress, fennel, salmon, oranges,buffalo mozzarella & hazelnuts

super spring salad with watercress, fennel, salmon, oranges,buffalo mozzarella & hazelnuts

6 cups young watercress

2 small fennel bulbs

250g hot smoked salmon

2 small oranges, peeled and segmented

150g fresh mozzarella

1/2 cup toasted, skinned hazelnuts

You don't really need instructions for this - just trim the fennel bulbs and remove the outer layer then slice finely, ideally on a mandolin. Then just layer the ingredients onto the plate and drizzle with infused oil or dressing. Serves 6 for a light lunch or as an elegant spring entree :)


1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

sea salt to taste


OK, now remember I am just some chick sitting at home at my computer, not a doctor or scientist, so these are assertions that I have found in books and on the internet - don't be hating on me if you disagree!


Packed with beta carotene and vitamin K,  zeaxanthian, lutein, beta carotene as well as a purported cancer fighting compound phenylethyl isothiocyanate. Good for promoting bone health, and limiting neuronal damage in the brain. Also contains Vitamins C and K  helpful for fighting infection and eye health.


Contains as much potassium as banana, high in phytonutrients and antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C which helps fight infection and zap free-radicals and Anethole a cancer-fighting compound in fennel oil.

Salmon (wild is optimal)

Loaded with Omega-3s, vitamin D, selenium, B2, B3, B6 and B12 and protein-rich, great for reducing inflammation. Helps in combatting cancer, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, depression and cognitive decline. May also assist in skin's protection from the sun.


Vitamin C for fighting infection and free radicals obvs, but also contain phytonutrients and flavanoids, soluble fibre, thiamin and potassium. Also good for reducing inflammation and the risk of developing kidney stones or diabetes. Bonus - fibre which helps keep you regular!


Rich in protein, with niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, biotin and vitamin B6 for maintaining healthy skin and vision, and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamins A, D, and E for bone health, calcium absorption and protection of cell membranes.


Contain phytopchemicals (flavanoids) which may support brain health, improve circulation and reduce allergenic symptoms, protein, heart-healthy fats and oleic acid which helps lower LDLs (bad cholesterol) and raise HDLs (the good stuff).

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

High in phenolic antioxidants, oleocanthal and antioxidants, especially vitamin E. Anti-inflammatory, cancer-protection potential, good for balancing cholesterol and reducing blood pressure.

Optional extras that would work well with the salad and boost the nutrient count - quinoa, broccoli sprouts, asparagus, blanched peas or broad beans.


spring, summer, desserts

lemon cheesecake tart

lemon cheesecake tart

lemon cheesecake tart


130g butter, out of the fridge for 20 minutes, softened

1/3 cup icing sugar

1 1/2 cups plain flour

2 tsp lemon juice

finely grated zest of 1 lemon


You will need a 25cm round tart tin with a removable base for this recipe. Whiz butter, icing sugar flour and zest until it forms breadcrumbs, add juice and pulse to form bigger clumpy breadcrumbs. Tip onto the bench and squash and pat into a big round fat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. 

Remove the pastry from the fridge, sit for 5 minutes, then roll out between two pieces of baking paper. Spray the tin lightly with Rice bran oil or similar then ease the pastry into the tin - squish the base well into the edge of the base and up the sides. Chill in the fridge for half an hour while the oven preheats to 180˚C (350˚F).



125g cream cheese, roughly chopped,  at room temperature

1 tbsp custard powder

3/4 cup caster sugar

finely grated zest of 1 lemon


2 egg yolks

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup lemon juice

Now - do not skip this bit - it makes all the difference, gently prick the base of the pastry with a fork and cut out a circle of baking paper, a little larger than the tin. Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice - it must come at least some way up the sides of the pastry, what you want is to pre-cook it so it doesn't shrink or go soggy. Cook for 12 minutes, carefully remove paper and beans/rice and cook a further 10 minutes until lightly golden. While this is cooking put cream cheese, custard powder, caster sugar and lemon zest into a food processor and blend until smooth. Add cream and lemon juice and pulse to combine then finally add eggs and yolks and blend for a just few more seconds until smooth.

Once pastry is ready (baked 'blind') remove it from the oven, place on  a baking tray and gently pour in the filling - by my calculations you should be just about spot on with the amount - you want it to come almost to the top. Reduce oven temperature to 150˚C (300˚F) then very gently pop tart back into the oven and cook a further 30 minutes until set but still with a bit of wobble in the middle. Turn the oven off, open the door wide and let it sit there for half an hour  before removing to cool on the bench, then in the fridge. 
The tart can be made the day before or in the morning of the day you want to serve it. Remove from the fridge half an hour before serving. Slather about 3/4 cup of the lemon curd on top of the tart to serve. Serves 8-10


3/4 cup caster sugar

110g butter, chopped into chunks

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 fresh eggs, ideally organic, free range, lightly whisked

Have 2x 1 cup capacity sterilised jars at the ready. Heat sugar, butter, zest and lemon juice in the top of a double boiler, or in a large glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the butter has melted, whisk the eggs into it. Continue whisking over the heat for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon - don't keep waiting for it to get really thick or it will start getting cooked eggy. Pour into jars and seal. Cool and use within two weeks.


autumn, winter

stormy night carrot, cumin & lentil soup with dukkah

carrot, lentil & cuminl soup with dukkah

carrot, lentil & cuminl soup with dukkah

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 celery stick, chopped

4 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 1/2 cm slices

2 small or 1 large agria potato, peeled and chopped

2 tsp ground cumin

pinch of chilli flakes

1 tsp ground coriander

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (optional)

6 cups vege stock

1 cup red lentils

3 tbsp runny honey (Manuka if you can)

1/3 cup coriander leaves

1/4 cup cream or coconut cream

Yoghurt or extra coconut cream to serve

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and add onion, celery and carrots. Cook over a medium heat for ten minutes then add potatoes, spices, salt and pepper, garlic, ginger and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add lentils and 2 tbsp of the honey and simmer a further 25 minutes. Add fresh coriander and blitz with a stick whiz (or in a food processor) and stir through cream. Serve with a swirl of yoghurt or coconut cream, a drizzle of honey (sounds weird I know, but truat me, it is awesome) and a sprinkling of dukkah - mop up with good bread - I used Indian  bread with ours. If you prefer a thinner consistency, just add a little more stock or water. Serves 4-6 :) (To make this vegan use agave instead of honey).

creamy curried vegetable and lentil pie

creamy curried vegetable & lentil pie

creamy curried vegetable & lentil pie


3 tbsp butter

2 leeks, trimmed and roughly chopped

1 big kumara (sweet potato), peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks

sea salt and pepper

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder

½ tsp garam masala

¼ cup chopped coriander

3 sprigs curry leaves – optional, I just happened to have some

4 tbsp plain flour

1 cup whole milk

1½ cups cooked lentils

1 cup cooked broccoli florets

1 cup cooked cauliflower florets

1 cup grated tasty cheese

6 pieces ready rolled butter puff pastry

1 egg, whisked

2 tbsp sesame seeds

2/3 cup tomato chutney

Melt butter in a big heavy based pot and add leeks, kumara, salt, pepper, and spices. Cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes until kumara is just soft. Sprinkle over flour, stir well and add milk. Cook until sauce has thickened then add lentils, broccoli, cauliflower and cheese. Heat through until cheese has melted and you have to stop yourself eating it all straight from the pot (or that may just be me...). Set aside while you line the base of 6 x 11cm pie tins (or probably 1 x 23cm pie tin...) with circles of baking paper and spray the sides lightly with rice bran oil or similar. Line the pie dishes with puff pastry and load up with filling. Cut 6 x 12cm pastry circle lids, brush the edges of the pies with egg and top with the lids, pressing with your thumb around the edges to seal. Trim the edges of excess pastry, brush the tops with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Refrigerate while the oven heats up to 180˚C (350˚F). Cook pies 35 minutes or so until golden brown and luscious. Serve with a good dollop of tomato chutney, and hold back for a few minutes before eating, they are wickedly hot inside. Yummmmm :)