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Posts from the ‘Salads’ Category

Colourful Raw Pad Thai Omelet & a Matching Colourful Retro Outfit


Hello world…..I’m still here!

As the weather warms up Our Girls (hens) having been laying lots of eggs and we are struggling to keep up eating them all. Of course friends are welcome benefactors of these beautiful golden yolked free range eggs. Since I bake sweet treats every day in work I tend not to bake at home so I am having to be a bit creative with the eggs rather than just boiled, poached and scrambled. This Raw Pad Thai Salad inside the omelet is quick to make and adds a fragrance and texture to the dish.  Tonight we are having another egg dish, Malaysian Egg Curry which I love and you can find a recipe here.

So I may not have had much time to write blog posts lately but I have managed to keep up with my shopping habits :o) Luckily for me all the best retro and vintage shopping is online so I can still fit that in when all the shops are shut and I have my feed up with a cuppa. Can’t wait for the summer to get here so I can sport this new outfit of mine.


This is really just an rough idea per omelet, you can vary the type of veg you like. The ingredients are per omelet below so increase per person.

Handful each of grated/shredded carrot, cabbage & spinach per omelet

2 eggs per omelet

zest & juice of 1/2 lime

pinch of sugar or honey

small piece of grated fresh ginger

Tbsp of chopped coriander

Pinch of chili powder or fresh chopped.

1 small kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

I’m not going to tell you how to make an omelet, I’ll let you make it your favourite way.

Place the shredded cabbage, carrots and ginger in a bowl.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and add to the veg mix and toss through.

Place the cooked omelet on a plate and fill one side with the Raw Pad Thai Salad. Fold the other half of omelet over and enjoy. This would also make a nice ‘packed’ lunch the next day, just keep your salad separate from the omelet and assembly when you are ready to eat it.


Moroccan Couscous, Pumpkin & Chickpea Salad


This week we are introducing a salad bar to the shop, complimenting the juices and smoothies and balancing out the decadent pastry treats. The weather had been glorious, it felt like spring was on it’s way but as usual for this time of year, mother nature was just teasing us. We had even planned a girls surf day, the sea had been calm and the skies blue but that is on the back burner as the sea raged in all it’s West Coast glory this morning. Back on with the woolies as the rain and blustery wind rattled the house. The intended spring salads turned into hearty winter salads, something to satisfy and comfort with a spicy kick. I will also have a Smokey Mexican Slaw and Italian inspired Roasted Cauliflower & Rocket  Salad. I’ll try and blog those to for you if I get a chance! Have a great week everyone and I hope the weather is being good to you where ever you are. xx


1 large butternut pumpkin or 1 small crown pumpkin

400g tinned chickpeas

Cous Cous

1tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsp cumin seeds

3Tbsp olive oil

1-2 tsp Harrisa Paste (depending on how hot yours is). I have a recipe here if you want to make some

2 Tbsp Water

Juice & zest of 1 lemon

large handful of parsley & coriander

salt & pepper to season


Cook the couscous as per packet instructions then rinse and cool.

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Skin & de-seed the pumpkin and dice into one inch squares. Place pumpkin in a roasting pan/tray.

Mix together the cinnamon, cumin, turmeric & olive oil and pour over the pumpkin. Rub the oil and spice mix through the pumpkin so it is coated.

Roast the pumpkin for 15 minutes or until tender but still has a bite to it. Allow pumpkin to cool before mixing it with other ingredients.

Drain the chickpeas.

Mix the harissa with the 2 Tbsp water

In a large bowl combine the chickpeas, roasted pumpkin and cooked couscous. Add the harissa , lemon juice & zest, coriander, parsley. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Goes well with roasted chicken, lamb chops or grilled fish or just served on it’s own.

A Few Salads To Ease Us Into Summer – Mexican Slaw, Cauliflower & Capers, Easy Beans & Peas

I posted in September that I had written a few recipes for Nourish magazine and promised to post all of the recipes on my blog once the issue had been released, well here they are finally. It’s been a busy week of work, cooking classes organising a Blogger dinner event and bathroom renovations, any spare time has been spent with a hammer or paint brush in my hand.  I have to confess, I have many recipes and photos sitting on my Mac that never make it onto the blog, I always have time to cook and eat and love to photograph but finding the time to sit down and write them up is a little harder to find. It certainly comes in handy though for weeks like this.

Mexican seems to be all the craze at the moment and this Slaw the perfect way to spice up your summer burgers, whether fish, chicken or beef. If the weather is not quite warm enough at your ‘neck of the woods’ to get into leafy salads, try the warm cauliflower salad or the bean & pea salad.

Mexican Style Slaw
Serves 8 burgers easily
1/2 white cabbage (or 1/4 of each red and white), outer leaves and core removed
6-8 large radish
small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
3 spring onions, root removed
50ml sour cream
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 medium hot chili
pinch salt
Slice the cabbage and radish as thin as possible, almost paper thin! I use a mandolin. Place in a large bowl.
Finely slice the spring onions and chili, remove chili seeds if they are too hot (they are the hottest part of the chili). Add to the bowl with the cabbage and radish.
Add the chopped coriander to the bowl.
In a separate bowl place the sour cream, lime juice, zest and salt, mix together.
Add the sour cream dressing to the coleslaw just before serving so it doesn’t go too soft.

Vibrant Bean Salad with Cumin Seeds & herbs

300g frozen, garden peas
200g frozen broad beans
300g green beans, stalk removed
large handful of parsley and fresh coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic
Salt & Pepper

Defrost both the garden peas and broad beans.

Remove the outer shell of the broad beans (they can be chewy).

Thoroughly drain the peas and podded broad beans then place them in a large bowl.

In a large pan of boiling water blanch the green beans for 2 minutes then drain and plunge into a bowl of ice cold water, this will stop further cooking and keep them bright green.

Drain the green beans and add to the rest of the beans & peas.

Blend together the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin seeds, coriander, parsley and garlic to a smooth salad dressing.

Mix the dressing through the beans and serve.

Optional: you could serve with some crumbled feta cheese.

Warm Cauliflower, Caper & Anchovy Salad


1 Cauliflower divided into florets

1 Tbsp capers

2 anchovy fillets

1 clove garlic

Large handful parsley

juice of 1 lemon

60ml olive oil

salt& pepper


Steam cauliflower for 2-3 minutes, you want it still to have a little crunchiness to it.

Place all the other ingredients into a blender and whiz together to make the dressing and season to taste with black pepper & salt.

Place the cooked cauliflower onto a serving platter and drizzle with dressing.

Serve immediately.

Warm Roast Vegetable & Lentil Salad with Zahtar & Sundried Tomatoes


A few weeks ago I was busy creating, styling and photographing salad recipes for Vicki’s Spring Nourish Magazine, which has just gone to print. If you are fortunate to live in the Waikato or Bay of Plenty areas you will be familiar with their beautiful, almost organic feeling magazine with its quality mat paper that feels so right for promoting seasonal produce, farmers markets and vibrant food recipes. You can’t help but brush your hand across the pages when leafing through it, almost feels like the vegetables will spring out in your hand.

It was an interesting exercise preparing dishes for an edition a couple of months in advance when all the produce is not yet available, I really wanted to use asparagus…oh how I crave asparagus season which is still a few weeks away. instead I opted for beans, cauliflower and root vegetables which will carry us through from now until October. As well as this salad I made a Mexican Style Coleslaw which will be perfect for those burger and BBQ days, a Vibrant Three Bean salad and Cauliflower, Anchovy & Caper Salad for the magazine.

200g baby beetroot, peeled and halved
200g baby carrots, scrubbed and stalk removed
400g tinned lentils
4 sun dried tomatoes
Handful fresh parsley
Handful fresh coriander
1 tsp zaatar spice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Pre heat oven to 180C
Drain the tinned lentils, then place in a large bowl.
Place the beetroot and carrots on a roasting tray and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. keep the beetroot and carrot separate if you don’t want the beetroot to turn the carrots pink.
Roast for 20 minutes, they’ll still be a little crunchy, then add to the bowl of lentils.
Blend together the sundried tomatoes, parsley, coriander, zahtar, balsamic and olive oil to a thick dressing.
Add the dressing to the bowl with the lentils & roasted vegetables and mix through.
Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve warm or chill in the fridge to serve later cold.

English Muffins with Roasted Beetroot, Balsamic Onions & Feta


After a busy work week a leisurely weekend breakfast is a welcome treat, whether at home or out at cafes with friends. I conjure these breakfasts up in my mind through the week, oddly after doing exercise the mind instantly roams towards food….hmmm what would I like to eat, what should I really eat, what is there to eat when I get home? The ‘like’ usually wins every time, in this case it was a rather healthy breakfast over the belly pork & pickle sandwich I had the day before.

I have taken up Bikram yoga and those who know me will smile and say “that’s nice Al”, knowing what that means, a new sport or exercise I have picked up which I will flog to death until my attention is diverted somewhere else. When I find something new I fall in love with it, become a little fanatical about it, believe everyone else should love it, convincing them they should join me in my new pursuit. Sometimes they do, often to find I have already moved onto my next fad.

In this case, Bikram yoga, I thought might actually flog me to death. A hot room in mid winter sounded appealing, a tropical oasis to warm the body was more appealing than going to the pool or a for a jog in temperatures of 5 Celsius. I thought I was pretty fit until I nearly passed out 20 minutes into the class. The veterans in the class smiled, nodded knowingly, “it will get better the more you practise they said, your doing great”. I was feeling nauseous at this stage and felt like poking their eyes out, why would I even try again if it was this bad? Stubborn by nature saw me back there two days later, no way a hot room was going to beat me and thankfully I didn’t faint the second time but the jury is still out, this fad may have the shortest life span yet.

Enough of excise, here’s the recipe. Although I did make my own muffins you can easily buy them or use your favourite bread instead. I would suggest if making your own muffins, make the dough the night before and leave in the fridge overnight to rise, saving time in the morning. You don’t want breakfast to turn into lunch!

2 brown onions, peeled and sliced thinly into rings
2 small beetroot, topped & tailed, peeled
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Rock salt
150g Feta Cheese

Pre heat oven to 180C.
Cut the peeled beetroot into wedges, approx 8 per beetroot.
Place the beetroot in a roasting tin with a tablespoon of olive oil and some rock salt to season, toss together to coat the beetroot.
Roast in the oven for 40 minutes. Prepare the onions while beetroot is roasting.
In a frying pan over a medium heat add a tablespoon of olive oil and the sliced onions.
Sauté for 15 minutes until onions are opaque and soft.
Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes.
To serve, toast the muffins and pile on the warm onions, beetroot and crumble feta over the top

Here’s the English muffin recipe, they really are easy and fun to watch turning into shape in the frying pan!

1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoons white sugar
1tsp package active dry yeast
2.5 cups high grade flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Warm the milk and water to a luke warm temperature.
Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and water and stand until it begins to bubble.
In a large bowl, add the milk & yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour.
Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough.
Knead for 5 minutes and divide into 8 and roll into smooth balls.
Sprinkle waxed paper with cornmeal and place the dough balls on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also.
Cover with a plastic bag or wrap and let rise till doubled in size.
Heat a cast iron frying pan over a low heat and cook. muffins for about 6-8 minutes on each side. They will double again in size in the pan and should be golden brown on the first side before you flip it to cook the second side.

Cape Malay Pickled Fish


We like our pickles in Britain, whether on a cocktail stick with cheese, jazzing up a butty (sandwich), part of a ploughman’s salad or accompanying a roast but this was a new dish introduced to me by a South African friend, Cape Malay Pickled Fish. Having eaten plenty Ceviche and Ika Mata and being a pickled ‘anything’ fan I had no doubt that I would like this dish as we discussed the ingredients but I wasn’t expecting the fish to be cooked before it was marinated! So if you are introducing anyone to marinaded pickled fish this is probably a good place to start if they are squeamish about trying ‘raw’ fish. The curry spices give it an interesting twist and it has the makings of a traditional pickle so for those pickled vegetable fans out there this is one its to try.

500g firm white fish, filleted
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup white vinegar
10 black peppercorns
6 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 allspice berries
1 tbsp curry powder
Sea salt
Vegetable oil

Cut the fish into 2 inch size pieces.
Put a few tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large heavy based frying pan over a medium heat.
Fry fish on both side until cook through, you don’t use any flour as this will make go gluggy in the marinade.
Once cooked lay the fish into a glass casserole dish and put aside.
Add all the other ingredients Into a small pan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cooking for 6 minutes until the onions are cooked but still firm.
Pour the hot marinade over the fish and place in the fridge.
Marinade for several hours or if you have the time overnight so all the flavours infuse better.

Home Made Feta, Bean Herb Salad and Stuffed Pesto Feta Mushrooms


If you had read the previous post you will know that I have been making cheese over the Christmas break and you can find a recipe for Feta Cheese here.

As well as a simple Greek Salad I turned my feta into this lovely bean, herb salad which was the perfect accompaniment for a summer BBQ, albeit our summer at the moment is quite questionable. We also enjoyed stuffed field mushrooms with pesto and feta for breakfast one Sunday morning and definitely a dish I could eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I am also very excited about my Camembert which is maturing nicely and look forward to introducing you to that soon. What shall I make with it or should I eat it au natural? It was made with un-pasturised milk so I am convinced it will be special, very European I hope as the Kiwis do not yet make un-pasturised cheese even though it is now permitted to produce here. Correct me if I am wrong and you have found an New Zealand un-pasturised cheese, I will gladly hunt it down.

Makes enough for 4 side salads
2 cup broad beans, frozen
1 cup garden peas, frozen
250g Feta cheese, chopped into squares or crumbled
Handful parsley and mint, finely chopped
Tbsp capers, chopped
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Blanch the broad beans as per instructions on packet and then drain and plunge in ice water. Drain completely.
Rinse the garden peas in cold water only, they don’t require cooking.
Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and combine.
Serve chilled.
Goes well with fish, chicken or just on its own.


I have given the approximate ingredients per portion for a guideline on purchasing but it’s really a recipe where a bit more or less of one thing will not matter, it’s all about preference and tasting as you go.

Ingredients per portion
2-3 field mushrooms
1 tsp of pesto per mushroom, recipe here
1 tsp feta cheese per mushroom, crumbled
1 tsp olive oil per mushroom
Cracked black pepper

Combine the pesto and feta together in a bowl.
Place the mushrooms on a baking tray, I used my individual oven proof frying pans.
Spoon pesto/feta mix over the mushrooms.
Drizzle with olive oil
Bake in oven for 20 minutes
Place mushrooms on serving plates and garnish with cracked pepper.

Making Feta Cheese and a Simple Greek Salad


One rainy day over the Christmas break a few girlfriends and I decided to make some cheeses, feta, Camembert and Mozzarella. We buy milk from a local farmer by the 10 liter bucket so it makes sense to make cheese in bulk. The mozzarella I have made many times before and there is a recipe here, the Camembert I will blog about once it has matured over the next few weeks. The good thing about the feta is that it is ready to eat straight away or you can hold it in a brine solution for a few weeks.

It produces a nice soft creamy feta, not crumbly like traditional but perhaps that is because it was so fresh and it didn’t get a chance to age it. I’m also running a feta cheese making workshop at Gourmet Gannet in March for anyone interested and also take private group booking in Auckland.

I have not included a recipe for Greek salad, it is how you see it, either sliced or chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, add some olives if you wish. I have a few more recipes with feta coming next, in the meantime here is how to make feta if you would like to give it a go, it’s quite easy.

You can buy all the cheese equipment from Mad Millieif you are in New Zealand
Cheese thermometer
Feta cheese mould or you can use a sift and muslin cloth
Large heavy bottom pan
Long knife
Slotted spoon
Sterilizing tabs
Sterilize all equipment you are going to use. You can use the sterilizing tabs used for sterilizing babies bottles, found at local supper markets. Follow manufacturers instructions.

2 litres full cream milk (not homogenized)
½ tsp rennet (diluted with ½ tsp water)
8 grain of Flora Danica Culture or Lipase
1/2 tsp salt

In a pan heavy bottom pan add the milk
Gently heat to 32C
Add the Flora Danica Culture or Lipase.
Dilute the rennet with a tablespoon of water.
Add the rennet to the milk and stir well.
Leave for 20-30 minutes to allow curds to form.
Cut curds into 1 cm cubes with a knife, then cut curds across the centre.
Leave the curds to sit for half and hour, folding them over each other every couple of minutes.
Ladle the curds into the feta moulds and allow to drain overnight in the fridge. Placing the moulds on a wire rack so the whey drains through.
In the morning make a brine solution of 20% salt to water.
Place the feta in the brine solution.
Feta can be eaten after 12 hours soaking or left to mature for up to two three weeks.

Roast Vegetable, Pinenut, Goats Cheese Sandwich & Brunch at Zus & Zo


The other week we stopped by Zus & Zo Cafe on Jervois Rd for brunch and I didn’t get far down their menu when I spotted this open sandwich and that was my choice taken care of. They serve this as ‘single’ or ‘double’ sandwich which I thought was rather cool since I prefer less bread and more filling so the one slice was perfect for me. Warm roasted vegetables served on toasted wholegrain (you can actually choose what bread you prefer) drizzled with honey and topped with goats cheese and pine nuts…delicious.

As I was recreating it at home I imagined it would be the perfect light lunch to share with Natalie over at Food Blog and the Dog in her garden in Andalucia, Spain. Although Natalie’s blog is fairly new to me I feel like I know her quite well through her recipes and writings about her surroundings. She always offers wonderful pictures of produce growing locally that she passes on her walks with Rufus, their dog. Bon appetit!

There are no particular quantities, you just need to have enough of each veg to cover however many sandwiches you are making.
Butternut pumpkin
Whole bulb of garlic
Marinated Sweet Pepper/Capsicum
Goat Feta or Soft Goat Cheese
Handful Pine Nuts
Manuka Honey or whatever your local honey is
Slices of multigrain bread

Preheat oven to 180C
Slice the pumpkin and aubergine and lightly brush both sides with olive oil.
Place on baking tray with the whole bulb of garlic and roast for 15-20 minutes or until cooked and golden.
Toast your pine nuts for 5 minutes, keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
Toast your bread slices and melt your honey if not the liquid variety.
Peel the roasted garlic and mash onto the toast.
Layer the vegetables any way you wish, top with a slice of goats cheese.
Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Jamie’s Fifteen Gooey Mozzarella, Smashed Herb Peas and Salad


This is my take on Jamie’s dish Gooey Burrata with Smashed Herb Peas which we had as part of his degustation menu at Jamie’s Fifteen in Cornwall last month. It’s one of the dishes that stood out most even though it was rather simple in concept but that’s what I love about Jamie’s cooking. We do not have Buratta cheese here in NZ so I went for the softest mozzarella I could find which was almost as good. It’s quite an easy dish to put together and you can get all the elements ready in advance then just reheat the peas and mozzarella through just before you are ready to serve. It looks rather impressive and creative no one will guess how easy it was, although I’m sure Jamie’s was a little more complex than this.

The pic below the recipe is of me sitting in Fifteen overlooking Watergate Bay.


  • 1/2 mozzarella ball per person
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas per person
  • handful of salad leaves or watercress per person
  • Handful fresh mint and parsley
  • zest of one lemon
  • Nob of butter
  • salt & cracked pepper
  • balsamic glaze


  • Oil the base of a pan large enough to fit all the mozzarella cheese without each piece touching.
  • Put the milk and mozzarella in the pan over a very low heat just to warm the milk. Do not let it boil as this will cook and melt the mozzarella too much, you just want it to soften slightly.
  • Pour boiling water into a pan with the peas, bring to the boil then drain the peas.
  • Add the zest, butter and herbs to the peas and blend half till smooth and the rest leave whole to give a varied texture
  • Season with salt & pepper.
  • Mix some balsamic glaze to the salad leaves.
  • To assemble first scoop the warm mozzarella out onto a plate, pile on the peas and then the salad and finish off with an extra bit of balsamic glaze around the plate.
  • You can add a piece of pan fried fish too if you want to make it a more substantial meal.


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