Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Fruit’ Category

Pacific Panforte – Macadamia, Mango, Coconut & White Chocolate

DSC_0006This was meant to be an Easter post, technically it still is being Easter Monday today but a little too late for any of you to make as an Easter gift which was my original intention. It would make a nice Christmas gift too so you can always stash the recipe in the memory banks for later this year. I have been selling the panforte on my market stall at Hobsonville Point on Sunday’s, it’s been quite popular, although the new addition of my vanilla custard & raspberry jam doughnuts seemed to have eclipsed everything with their popularity. I will try and share that recipe with you at some point or you can visit me at the market and pick up a few.


  • 200g roasted macadamia nuts
  • 350g dried mango, roughly chopped
  • 100g flour (or ground almonds can be substituted for gluten free)
  • 100g coconut thread or desiccated
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 100g honey
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Prepare a 20cm x 20cm baking tin by lining it with greaseproof paper and also greasing the paper.
  3. Roast macadamia nuts in oven till golden brown. Remove and allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, mix flour, coconut, nuts and spices.
  5. In a pan over a low heat, melt the honey and sugar till dissolved and gently boil for 2 minutes.
  6. Add mango to the cooked honey and sugar and gently boil for a further 2 minutes.
  7. In a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate pieces, being careful not to overcook them.
  8. Add honey and mango mixture, melted chocolate to the nuts and and flour mixture.
  9. Stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon (working quickly, it is easier to do this while the mixture is still hot).
  10. With a wet hand, press mixture into prepared tin.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Cool on a cake rack.
  13. Store in an airtight container or gift wrap. Panforte will keep for a few weeks stored this way.


Crisp Apple Tarts


The Gourmet Gannet will be selling these crisp apple tarts at Hobsonville Point Farmers Market this Sunday (and every Sunday) if you haven’t time to make your own sweet treats this weekend. We will also have Traditional Handmade English Pork Pies, Cornish Pasties, Cheese & Paprika Twists, Chocolate Almond Twists. Lots of yummy vegetarian tarts topped with things like field mushrooms & halloumi or roast vegetables. Swing by and say hello if you are in Auckland, it’s a lovely market with lots of local producers.

This recipe can quick and simple if you want to buy the puff pastry or use the recipe below to make your own. The apple crisps are perfect with a morning coffee or for dessert after dinner with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

This is also my submission for Sweet New Zealand, our monthly Kiwi blogging event. This month hosted by Michelle over at Greedy Bread.

3 Braeburn Apples, cored
3 Tbsp Apricot puree/jam
3 Tbsp caster sugar
3 sheets of puff pastry or use recipe below

2 Tbsp butter, melted


Pre-heat oven on fan bake to 200C

Take the pastry sheets or prepared puff pastry and cut round a saucer 6-9 times, re-roll spare pastry.

Place pastry circles on a baking paper on a baking tray.

Spread apricot puree over the circles.

Thinly slice the apple (I use a mandolin) and arrange over the pastry.

Brush the apples with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes. Liquid will release initially but this will dry and caramelize around the pastry to make them crisp.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Puff Pastry Recipe

250g plain, plus extra for rolling out

250g butter

150ml ice-cold water


Place the flour in a large bowl.

Cut the butter into small cubes.

Using a round-bladed knife, stir the butter into the bowl until each piece is well coated with flour.

Add the iced water and bring everything together into rough dough.

Press the dough flat without kneading and wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to relax and chill. The key with puff pastry is to keep it cool.

Lightly flour a work surface.

Roll the pastry in one direction until it’s about 1cm thick and three times as long as it is wide, or about 45x15cm. Try to keep it as square as possible.

Fold the bottom third of the pastry up, then the top third down.

Turn the dough so that its open edge is facing to the right, like a book.

Roll and fold the pastry again as before. Repeat process two more times (4 in all).

If the pastry gets warm or the butter soft at any point chill it for 10 minutes before continuing.

Chill the finished pastry for an hour, or ideally overnight, before using.

Roll to ¾ cm thick.


Pineapple, Coconut, Mint Ice Pops & Life’s a Beach


It doesn’t matter how many years I’ve living in Muriwai, I’m still in awe of it’s beauty with it’s black sands, crashing sea and moody colours. Most people will run to the beach on a sunny warm day but I love it best when the skies are overcast making the thundering waves look all that more menacing. Eight foot waves where tubing in, I looked longingly at them and the daring riders rocketing down the wave face. But I confess they are far to big for this surfer. When the wave height drops in a day or two I will be out their with the rest of them, nodding when they say it’s been an awesome surf week, omitting the fact that I was watching not surfing earlier in the week ;o). So I ran for my camera and caught a few waves on film instead. It’s it such a beautiful place?

It was still a balmy warm day, perfect for the ice pops I had stashed in the freezer for such an occasion and I was thirsty and exhausted just watching all the action out to sea. Just a simple treat of fresh pineapple, mint leaves and coconut milk all whizzed together and poured into your favourite ice pop container. I’m submitting this to our monthly Sweet NZ mingle which is being hosted by Arfi of HomeMades. If you pop over you will be sure to find a lot more sugary delights to tickle your taste buds.


1 Small pineapple (peeled, cored and chopped, 200ml coconut milk, handful of fresh mint leaves


Whiz all ingredients together in a food processor or blender then pour into ice pop containers and freeze overnight.





Salted Caramel Doughnuts & Salted Caramel Apples on Stick – Happy Halloween!

I’m still on my salted caramel crusade, I think I probably just need to buy a box of the Bohemian chocolates that we sampled at the Chocolate Festival in Wellington and get over it. I mean a batch of doughnuts and caramel toffee apples in one weekend for a household of two is ridiculous and hubby doesn’t eat fruit and also decided he didn’t like salted caramel either… a little strange I know. I became the good neighbour, fobbing off my wares, sharing the love and the calories…cough..cough, that’s what friends are for right? I fried these doughnuts this time but I have been known to bake them in the past just like a bread roll and they are still rather good.

The toffee apples are for Halloween, it’s a funny treat isn’t it? An apple a day keeps the dentist away they say, I’m sure the dentist has a heart attack over these apples but no more so than when we get to pay our dentist bill. I went last week, just a routine check and teeth clean by the hygienist and it cost more than a whole orchard of apples and the toffee together, I should have taken him some toffee apples so we could all have broken out in a cold sweat together.

Ingredients – Doughnuts, makes 8

350g plain flour

70g brown sugar

1tsp instant yeast

165ml luke warm milk

1 free range eggs

70g butter, melted

vegetable oil for frying


Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl.

Add the yeast to the milk and put aside for a few minutes until it starts to ferment. Then whisk the yeasty milk together with the eggs and melted butter. Add to the flour mix and combine into a dough ball.

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes and press dough out on a floured working surface to approximately an inch thick.

Using a medium & very small cookie cutter, cut the doughnuts out with the large cutter and the cut the centres out of each doughnut with the small cutter. Place the doughnuts and the ‘whole’ separately on an oiled tray to prove, leaving enough space between them to double in size.

Oil the top if the doughnuts and cover the whole tray with a plastic bag, you’ll need to use 2 trays

Re-knead any dough left over and cut out further doughnuts.

Once dough is doubled in size they are ready to bake.

Heat approximately 300ml of vegetable oil to 190C in a heavy bottom pan, enough to be half the depth of the doughnuts. If you don’t have a themometre just do a test with a little piece of dough to check when it is hot enough. Its should slowly brown.

Add 2 to 3 to the pan and fry the doughnuts for approximately 1 minute then turn and fry for the same amount of time on second side.

Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon and allow doughnuts to cool on kitchen paper.

Make the caramel at this stage and once it is ready the doughnuts will be cool enough to dip.

Ingredients – Caramel

1 cup brown sugar

100g butter

3 Tbsp water

1tsp salt

Method -Caramel

Combine the sugar, butter & water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar has melted, stirring constantly.

Increase the heat and bring the caramel up to 146C (you will need a sugar thermometre)

Once it has reached temperature turn the heat off and lett it settle for a minute then dip both the doughnuts & apples into the caramel.

You can add an extra sprinkle of salt to the caramel if you wish.

Microwave Lemon Curd, Lemon Victoria Sandwich Cake, Lemon Shortbread Biscuits

My friend and neighbour asked her children to pop down into the garden to pick some lemons off their tree, keep them entertained while dinner was being prepared. I suppose the trick with young children is you need to be specify exactly how many lemons you want them to pick otherwise it turns into a game and they merrily pick away all the lemons within reach which is what happened and why I was the receiver of an armful of beautiful, thick skinned, very large juicy lemons. We use a lot of lemons and limes in a week but this was even a little too many for us in our every day cuisine so I decided to make lemon curd. When you lead a busy life and are permanently rushed for time, standing over a pot stirring and waiting for curd it to thicken could be hit and miss, if like me you are attempting to multitask at the same time.  I decided to give the microwave method a go and hoped I wouldn’t end up with lemony eggs as I wasn’t sold on the idea apart from the time factor. I was amazed how easy it was, with no scrambled egg in sight, as a result I will never toil over a stove again to make curd. The key is to cook the mixture in short bursts in the microwave and whisk in between every burst of cooking time. I normally treat my curd like gold and if you get a jar you are honored indeed when it takes so long to make I tend to hide it at the back of my cupboard but this method was so quick I gave all the jars of curd away with the same speed it was made, knowing I can whip up a batch any time.

Once you have a batch of lemon curd, the dessert table beckons you to bake, easy shortbread turns into delightfully special treats and the traditional Victoria Sandwich Cake becomes a little more royal.

This is also my submission for our monthly blogging event Sweet New Zealand which is being hosted by Sue over at Couscous and Consciousness

Microwave Lemon Curd

Ingredients -4 x 200ml jars

4 lemons, juice & zest

4 eggs

100g sugar

100g butter


Sterilise your jars & lids by boiling in water for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a plastic bowl, I use plastic because it doesn’t heat as much as glass or ceramic (less likely to get scrambled egg).

Add the butter to the bowl.

Place bowl in microwave on high for 1 minute , remove and whisk. The butter will only be partially melted.

Heat again for 1 minute in microwave, remove and whisk. If the butter has already melted and the liquid is getting warm start heating for 30 seconds bursts only and remove from microwave in between each 30 seocnds and whisk before heating again.

Once the lemon curd has thickened it is done. Pour into sterilized jars and seal with lid.

Lemon Curd Shortbread Biscuits – makes 12 minis

50g sugar

100g butter

150g plain flour

1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean

Pre-heat oven to 200C

Place sugar, flour, butter into a food processor and whiz them until they resemble breadcrumbs.

Then pulse slowly until the mixture comes to a dough, do not over mix at this stage.

Remove biscuit dough from the food processor and place between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper.

Roll the shortbread out to 1/2 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles. With half of the biscuits cut out a smaller whole in the centre, I used a large piping nozzle. Re-roll the scraps of dough and cut out further biscuits until all the dough is used.

Place on a non stick baking tray with a little space between biscuits and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To serve, add a dollop of lemon curd to the base biscuit and top with a ‘wholy’ biscuit. Biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for a week without their curd filling. I recommend adding the curd before you serve them.

Lemon Victoria Sandwich Cake

250g SR Flour

250g butter

200g sugar

4 free range eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean

Preheat the oven to 180C

Butter and line with greaseproof paper the base and sides of 2 x 20cm cake tins

Place the butter, vanilla bean seeds or paste and sugar in a large bowl and beat or whisk together until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time  beating well between each addition.

Fold in the flour with a large metal spoon, taking care not to knock out too much air.

Spoon the mixture into the tins and smooth the top.

Bake cakes in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, do NOT be tempted to open the oven before this time is up as this sponge cake is sensitive and likely to sink if not fully cooked. Cake will be golden brown when cooked and spring back when touched.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before filling with lemon curd and whipped cream.

Filling & Assembly
Whip 300ml of whipping cream to soft peak

Spread 200ml of lemon curd over the base sponge and top with whipped cream

Place second sponge on top of cream and dust top with icing sugar

Vanilla Roasted Strawberries with Cinnamon Meringues & Thumbprint Shortbread Biscuits

You know it is strawberry season in our house, not by the abundance of strawberries in the fridge or fruit bowl but by the morning wake up call. As the season approaches the wake up call on hubby’s IPhone changes and sings out ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, by the Beatles. The strawberry fields are calling him back to work, spring is here and its time to sell these little ruby jewels into market. it’s also a little ironic that I am a Liverpudlian and he chooses a Beatles song. Do you have a favourite alarm call and does it change with your mood? When things have been a bit tough I have been known to have Lily Alan playing in the morning, her songs always make me laugh but also drive everyone bonkers all day singing them.

Continuing on with my roasted strawberry series from last week, here are two other recipes to use your roasted strawberries with. Serving them with cinnamon meringues and whipped cream is the perfect summer dessert or make a thumbprint biscuit a little more decadent, instead of using jam add a roasted strawberry to the biscuit after they are baked.

Cinnamon Meringues
3 Egg Whites
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Pre-heat oven to 120C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Place egg whites in a clean large bowl with a pinch of salt.
Whisk egg whites to soft peak.
Sift in icing sugar gradually while whisking.
Once the meringue is whisked to stiff, sprinkle the cinnamon over it in the bowl.
Taking a dessert spoon, scoop out a spoonful of meringue covered in some cinnamon and drop onto the lined baking tray.
Each scoop will have varying amounts of cinnamon but this adds to character.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. They should be crisp on the outside and soft/chewy in the centre.
Allow to cool and serve with cream & strawberries.
Store meringues in an airtight container.

Thumbprint Biscuits
2oz or 60g sugar
4oz or 120g butter
4oz or 120g plain flour
2 oz or 60g ground almonds
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1/2 bean
Pre-heat oven to 200C
Place sugar, flour, butter, ground almonds into a food processor and whiz them until they resemble breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and pulse slowly until the mixture comes to a dough, do not over mix at this stage.

Remove biscuit dough from the food processor and divide 12 equal portions.

Roll each portion into a ball and place onto a nonstick baking tray and pres the centre down with your thumb, almost all the way through.

At this stage you would add a blob of jam for thumbprint biscuits but I have baked mine naked so I can top them with strawberries.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Top each one with a roasted strawberry and some of the strawberry syrup from roasting.

Eat immediately otherwise the strawberries will make the biscuit soft. Store biscuits separate to strawberries if not eating them all at once!

Roasted Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup with Scones

Roasting fruit is the perfect cooking method that allows the fruit to retain it’s colour, shape and flavour. I always roast my rhubarb and making the strawberry tarte tatin last week I was wishing for more baked fruit but not necessarily in a pastry case. Jamie’s method of cooking fish ‘en papilotte – in a parcel’ came to mind and I decided this should give the strawberries the same texture and flavour as the tarts. I just use vanilla syrup to sweeten the strawberries slightly, if you don’t have syrup, use seeds from a vanilla bean or half a teaspoon vanilla paste and a tablespoon of sugar. It’s a great alternative to jam for your cream teas, less sugar and still the full aroma of the fresh strawberry.


1 chip/punnet strawberries (approx 12 small)

2 Tbsp vanilla syrup (I used Equagold)


Pre heat oven to 180C

Wash & hull the strawberries and place in a bowl with the vanilla syrup, toss the strawberries through the syrup.

Take enough greaseproof paper to make a parcel to hold your strawberries.

Place the strawberries on one half of the greaseproof paper with the vanilla syrup. Fold the other half over the strawberries and then fold the three open sides over twice to make a parcel. Click Here for a YouTube demo, it’s done a little differently and I make my parcel round the fruit but it gives you the idea.

Place strawberry filled parcel onto a baking tray and roast for 12 minutes. Strawberries should just start to soften but hold their shape still. Don’t over roast or you will end up with a ‘mush’.

Allow to cool and serve with scones and cream

Ingredients – scones

200g Self Raising Flour

50g butter

1 Tbsp icing sugar

150ml milk

Method for Scones
Preheat oven to 200C degrees centigrade.

Place flour, butter and sugar into a bowl.

Using your fingers, rub mixture together until it resembles fine bread crumbs. Or use a food processor.

Form a well in the centre of bread crumb mix and add the milk, kneed gently to form a soft dough.

Transfer scone dough onto a floured board and press the dough out with hands (rather than using a rolling pin) until it is about 2cm thick.

Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the scones or slice the scones, it should make 8

Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. If you tap the bottom of one they should sound hollow when cooked.

Simple Strawberry Tarte Tatin with Vanilla Syrup

It may be a tad early for strawberries, most currently in the shops are still from overseas but rumour has it from the man in the know at Best Berries (my hubby) is that they are just about to pick their first crop. I have been doing a bit of photography for him to glam up their website site a bit, hubby even pilfered my camera to take shots of their new swanky strawberry chariot.

To kick start the season off, here is a very simple recipe with few ingredients, I have been experimenting with Equagold Tahitian Vanilla Syrup which was one of our generous Conference Sponsors this year. Thank you Equagold, I am enjoying using your product.

But before I dive into the recipe, congratulations to Kirsten and Lucy who won the double passes to Taste of Auckland! It going to be a splendid event and I hope to see you there. For those not as lucky as our two winners you can still grab some early bird tickets on line.

Ingredients – makes 6

1 large punnet/chip strawberries or 18-24 small/medium strawberries (enough to fit 3 to 4 in each muffin tin base)

2 Tbsp Equagold Vanilla Syrup

100g ready bought puff pastry or 1 sheet


Preheat oven to 180C, fan bake

Wash & hull the strawberries and place in a bowl with the vanilla syrup

Toss the strawberries through the vanilla syrup.

Using large muffin tin (6 per tin normally) place 3 to 4 strawberries in the base of each tin

Roll out the puff pastry to 1/2 ich if not using a ready rolled sheet

Using a large cookie cutter, slightly larger than the top of your muffin tins so there is enough pastry to tuck down the sides, cut out 6 pastry circles and place each one on top of the strawberries

Tuck the pastry down the sides with a butter knife around the strawberries to make a little shell that will hold the strawberries once turned out.

Bake in the oven on the top shelf for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

To turn the tarts out, use a rubber spatular and slide it under the pastry and strawberries and turn the whole tart over.

I tried turning the whole tin over but that didn’t work so it is best to remove them one by one.

Serve warm as they are or with whipped cream

Winter Comfort Food with Apple & Ginger Tart Tatin


What can be more comforting than a warm apple tart? I’m not a big pie fan, one two many layers of pastry for my taste but hubby loves pies so the Tart Tatin is a good compromise and really easy to make. Don’t believe any of those Masterchef challenges that make it look hard, it really isn’t and if you use store bought puff pastry it’s even quicker.

I have used sweet short crust pastry and have offered my recipe here if you prefer to make your own make your own. With slightly more than half fat to flour in this recipe it ensures a nice rich melt in the mouth pastry. The recipe,will make 1 large tart or 4 mini tarts.

6 large apples, peel, cored and quartered
10ml water
100g butter
100g castor sugar
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large sheet of puff pastry or recipe noted above

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Over a low heat dissolve the water and sugar in a medium sized frying pan (oven proof), cast iron if you have one.
Add the butter and gently heat until starting to caramelise. Stir in the grated ginger.
Add the apples and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, shake the pan now and then to coat them in the caramel.
Remove from the heat and arrange the apples to fan round the pan.
Lay the pastry over the apples then tuck the pastry round the apples and down the inside of the pan.
Place tart in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
When the tart is cooked remove pan from the oven and allow tart to rest for 5 minutes.
Running a knife round the edge to dislodge any pastry that has stuck and invert the tart onto a plate.
Serve with cream, ice cream or yoghurt.

Chocolate Pear Galette with Praline Crunch


You will have seen this picture before, it’s the recipe I submitted for the food blogger feature in the Taste Magazine in April. I said I would reveal the recipe on my blog for those not in NZ after the magazine was no longer being sold in store so here it is. I will keep my fingers crossed that one day I can write and style more recipes for magazines. In the meantime you might find me on Life & Style

180g plain flour
110g butter
50g sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp cocoa
2-3 pears
Praline Topping
50g hazelnuts
1/2 cup water
1 cup castor sugar
additional sugar for dusting
A little milk for glazing the pastry

To prepare the praline put the water & sugar for the toffee in a pan on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved then turn up the heat.
The sugar liquid should boil and start to turn golden brown, once it does turn off the heat and add the hazelnuts to the pan.
Pour mixture out onto a grease tin to cool. Once set, blend in a food processor or bash with a mortar & pestle!
For the pastry, place the flour, cocoa & butter in a bowl.
Work the ingredients together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the egg and gently knead the dough together and divide into 4 equal portions, shape them into balls and flatten.
Rest dough in fridge for an hour before rolling out.
Preheat oven on ‘bake’ to 180C .
Prepare the pears by coring them, slicing them into halves and then into 1 cm thick wedges.
Roll one piece of dough into a circle the size of a ‘side plate’.
Arrange pear wedges in a circle from the centre of the dough leaving 4cm free at edges.
Fold dough into the centre, pleating as you go, it doesn’t have to be perfect, galettes are rustic.
Brush the pastry with a little milk and dust the whole galette with sugar.
Repeat with the rest of the dough. Alternatively you can make one large galette.
Sprinkle praline mixture over the top of each galette and place on a non stick baking tray.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown (a larger galette will take approx 35 minutes).


%d bloggers like this: