somethings fishy...

 Preparing the bed for Sweetcorn...

Homegrown sweetcorn has a sweetness that shames store-bought cobs.  Each kernel has caught the summer sun and delivers it directly without pause, to be picked,  trucked, stored, packed and finally bought.  A pot boiling on the stove before harvesting and a big knob of butter makes for the best first course.  It's memorable, delicious, divine even.  However, long before that happens, I have to plant the corn, and now is the time.

An afternoon fishing left us with some fish frames, so the first thing we did (after ripping up the flowers that were in our sunniest spot) was dug these deep into the soil and covered them over.  Then a little compost and manure to sweeten the plot.   You don't have to have the fish frames, but we don't like to waste anything and they will add great nutrients to the soil.  See my fiance Jonathan's knobbly knees on the right.

Finally because we love sweetcorn and would like it to be ready in stages, we planted 12 organic seedlings and at the same time we planted a whole heap of a heritage variety seeds directly into the gaps.  This will ensure a succession of sweetcorn.  The other major tip with sweetcorn is to plant it in blocks rather than rows, this is because it is wind pollinated and you want the funny straggly flower heads to knock around together in the wind for a successful crop.

New Potatoes

One or two of my new potato plants are starting to die off out of concern we dug a few up - only to discover that, hurray, they are ready.  One little bag perfect for supper with organic butter and some homegrown dill are all ready for our dinner tonight.  I've used little Natural Waxed Paper Bags by "Natural Value" to store them (with their dirt on) in portion sized packs, although this first bunch wont be lasting long.

When the potatoes are all dug up, it'll be time to re-fill this bed with something else.  The potatoes have helped to make a nice friable soil.  The weekends fishing has not only given us a lovely meal, but all the heads, guts bones and skin of the fish are saved to be planted in this bed when the potatoes have been harvested.  I have been growing corn on in old takeaway coffee cups and these are nearly ready to go in.

Hurrah, the easy, tasty, bounty xx

fat chook and skinny chook

fat chook and skinny chook
Our girls are not great layers, they are pretty noisy and if you open the gate to hang the washing they make a crazed dash for the utopia of the vegie garden, weaving like soldiers going over the top. 
Naming has clearly been a problem, initially the idea was to name them after our mothers, Miranda and Marlene, but we couldn't land on which one was which, after a time, they have simply become fat chook and skinny chook.  Between them they harbour the secret of which one lays productively as we only get one egg per day. Perhaps they share this load? 
However they provide us with enough eggs for our two person household (and the occasional half dozen gift box).  The dirtied straw in their hen house makes an excellent addition to our three compost bins and there is something soothing about nature doing its thing in your backyard and even allowing you the odd pat when you hang out the washing.  We have been blessed with a lovely landlord who cut a little hole in our fence to allow the girls access to his compost, we have very happy hens and their happiness is a delight.

If you are thinking about getting chickens check your local council website as the rules vary slightly and they can be a little noisy.  Remember a chicken isn't for Christmas, if  you are going away you will need to make arrangements for them or take them with you - ours are planning on packing for a Summer in the Bay of Islands.  A good book might help smooth out any problems, like wing clipping (we clip the tip of the right wing only as disclosed in George   Orwells Diaries).

The Spice of Life

Spices need extra loving care.  In centuries past they have been sought around the globe. Nations once went to massive lengths to control the sale and passage of spices, they were the jewel in the crown of a waring empires portfolio.  Today although they still reach us from far flung places, their little boxes, bags and clear glass or plastic bottles no longer reflect or honour their dangerous history.

Light and air are thieves, they steal the flavour from spices.

 As part of my Spring clean I decided it was time to treat my spice collection to the love and care I know it deserves.  Dark amber bottles now protect them from light, firm screw top caps prevent air from robbing them of flavour and clear labels mean I can grab just what I need in a hurry.  These little  bottles came from Delivered to my door with minimum fuss. The labels are chefs-standard (masking tape and marker pen). 

Now I can journey through the history and global throw of spices at a glance, ideas spring to mind as I cast an eye over my collection that lines the darkest wall of my kitchen. It sure beats rifling through a draw in frustration and stops me from buying things twice when I do my ordering.

You may not be as nutty about spices as me however, but my two bits worth of advice (as a bare minimum) are; buy spices in small amounts and store in airtight containers in a dark place.  A fridge or freezer is excellent and probably a lot less trouble.


First Pick


 1 tbsp white vine vinegar
4 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
3 leaves of sorrel, finely sliced
1 tsp lemon zest
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously.


I wandered around the garden looking for fresh new leaves, this salad includes; sliced snow peas and radishes, baby cavalo nero, red cos, cos, flat leaf parsley, celery leaves, rocket, micro mixed Italian lettuces, baby broadbeans and chopped capers.

Enjoy - spring has finally arrived! 

Laura xx

Winner Mainland Butter Competition

Many thanks to those of you who entered the Mainland butter competition.  The winner is Clinton Squibb with his White Chocolate Mud Cupcakes (below) recipe.  The amazing thing about this recipe is how long it keeps fresh and how moist the little cakes are.  I tested this recipe using a mini loaf style muffin tray.  As white chocolate is particularly sensitive to heat (burning at a lower temp than dark choc) I would suggest using the double boiler method rather than the microwave.  I am also biased and think microwaves are pretty defunct in the kitchen of a food lover.  However enough of my "worthy" opinions. Although I would like to say thanks to Grieg Buckley also for his lovely apple shortcake recipe, and to Brett Bailey for his amusing Toast recipe!


600 grams  Plain flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder

500 grams (cubed)  Butter
500 grams Milk
900 gramsCastor sugar
300 grams (chopped) White chocolate

4 (whisked)Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla essence


  • Preheat the oven to 155°C and line your muffin trays
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside
  • Melt the butter, milk, castor sugar and white chocolate gently over a double boiler or on a medium to low heat in a microwave
  • Allow to cool slightly
  • Pour the cooled white chocolate mixture in with the dry ingredients and whisk together until all the lumps have dissolved
  • Gently fold in the eggs and vanilla essence until just combined
  • Deposit the batter into the muffin trays, making sure the batter comes two thirds of the way up the cup
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes (time may vary depending on ovens)
Allow to cool completely before icing

Winning Email

Thanks to Alexandra Speedy for her lovely email entry to the competition telling us what she thinks about food!

Here is Alex's winning email:
I totally agree with your comments on shop local and eat well.
Coming from a farming county in Ireland this lifestyle resonates strongly with me and I have many a fond memory of picking rhubarb and apples in the garden for my Mum to whip up a crumble!
Another great outlet you might be interested in is the Grey Lynn Farmers Market who I worked with on marketing project last year which was based on the concept of cutting down food miles and eating fresh ingredients seasonally and locally. They have very passionate values and run a great market!
Another cool concept I found out about along way was this site called Ooooby which is like facebook but only for people into homegrown and local food. At you can connect with food growers and 'locavores' (people who like to eat local food) from all over the world.
Great to see so many passionate people creating these outlets and making fresh local produce so readily available – even for city folk like myself! cheers Alex.


Cooking & Eating with Integrity

I'd love to know what you think, so let me know via email at - most informative email will win a box of local seasonal vegies.

As a member of a society privileged enough to have choice in what I consume, I try to work with and write only about food that I have researched and thought about.  I understand that I am lucky to be able to do this.

Therefore from the position of known privilege I would like to offer my gratitude to companies in my community who are fighting the good fight for sustainability, transparency in packaging, place of origin, ingredient authenticity and a little bit of love.

Having worked in the food industry for many years I realise how hard it is not to buckle under the pressure of adding preservatives to give products longer shelf life, increase volume or just make things look and taste a little brighter than they should. Whenever I feel lost in the jungle off modern food I like to think of what esteemed food writer Michael Pollan says in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto "Eat food, not too much", and to paraphrase him if I may  - if it doesn't rot - we shouldn't eat it.

Local Companies I Admire:

Chantal Organics
Huckleberry Farms
West Lynn Butcher - 440 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland 09 3761439
Epicurean Supplies
Allpress Coffee
Koanga Institute
Weleda NZ (not  truly local but they have gardens here)
Olivado Oils

Not all of the products supplied by these guys are grown locally, but there is so much more to great food ethics than dogedly buying local food. When I researched the concept of local food for my work with SHOP LOCAL EAT WELL, I came to understand that speciality growing regions around the world are of huge value to a world market just as New Zealander export is obviously important to our economy.

It is vital to support our local businesses, to encourage diversity in our growing and to choose not to support cruel, or unsustainable practices with our wallets, however not having access to international inspiration would be a travesty and for many emerging nations (see reports from G5 summit) an insular purely local model would spell disaster for many in our one world.

In saying all of that, where the concept of local food is of immense value is with fresh produce, eating an orange that is flown in from Australia seems ridiculous when the one next to it (if in season) is cheaper, tastes better and most likely arrived more recently from Northland, Auckland or The Bay of Plenty.  Personally I only eat seasonal food, the upshot of this is that although I will have to wait another fortnight for a NZ Tangelo when the Australian ones are already in the shops, when I get it, I will savour it,  I can be assured that I am receiving the goods (nutrient wise) from the soil at the time of the year my body needs it, I am not paying for outlandish av-gas and my few cents of levy go back into my local citrus community.

Thats it really, thats what I think about it all.  I'd love to know what you think, so let me know via email at - most informative email will win a box of local seasonal vegies.

Caramelised Pumpkin & Leek Lasagne and a raw salad

This months Good Morning appearance was more of a comedy of errors than a straight cooking slot, although it was great fun - for those of you who would actually like to cook the recipes, here they are:

Homemade Wholemeal Lasagne Sheets 
Time: 20 mins
Makes: enough for 2 lasagnes (20cm square dish)
Costs: $3.70 per batch using organic ingredients

Tipo "00" is a fine-grade wheat flour used for pasta making it is lovely and soft. It has a high-gluten-content that helps it to bond and form the pasta dough. It is possible to make with a plain flour but for the best result buy Tipo "00" and store in the fridge for all pasta making forays. Rather than using wholemeal flour, the best result comes from adding wheat bran to the tip 00 flour.


  • 175 g tipo "00" flour or white stone-ground organic whole-wheat flour 
  • 25g wheat bran 
  • 2 whole free-range eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable stock or water 
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed organic olive oil 
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg (optional but compliments the spinach) 
  • 1 pinch salt 1/2 cup flour extra for kneading and rolling 

  1. Make a pile with the flour and wheat-bran on a clean bench top (you can use a bowl if you prefer) use a fist to form a large well in the centre and add all remaining ingredients. 
  2. With a cutlery knife using a stirring motion incorporate the liquids into the flour until a sticky dough is formed. Knead until the dough is firm and smooth, it will bounce back when pressed.
  3. Chill for at least 10 minutes, preferably 30. 
  4. Cut dough into four quarters and knead briefly before rolling each segment through a pasta machine from the widest setting to the narrowest setting. 
  5. Prepare a clean tray dusted with flour for the rolled pasta. Cut each strip into 20cm lengths to fit your lasagne dish. 
Caramelised Pumpkin and Mozzarella Lasagne 

Time: 1 hour
 Serves: 4-5
Costs: $7.40 per person using organic cheese or $5.70 per person using non-organic cheese

  • 1 small pumpkin, skinned and chopped (approx 1.2kg) 
  • 1 small leek, white part sliced thickly and washed 
  • 2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil 
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp mineral salt 
  • 200 g spinach leaves, washed and chopped 
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped 
  • 1 stalk rosemary, chopped 
  • 150g organic mozzarella* 
  • 70g ground almonds
  • 6 sheets fresh wholemeal lasagne 


  1. Preheat the oven to 220degC. 
  2. Toss the pumpkin and leeks in combined olive oil, maple syrup and mineral salt. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. 
  3. Brush a 20cm by 20cm ovenproof dish with olive oil and line with lasagne sheets. Top with half of the prepared pumpkin and leek, spinach, parsley, and mozzarella. Grind over some fresh black pepper and sprinkle with half of the salt. 
  4. Add another layer of pasta and repeat. Sprinkle with ground almonds and then bake covered with foil for 40 minutes. 
  5. Remove the foil and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. 

Raw Salad with NZ Spray-free Hazelnuts 

Time: 5 mins
Serves: 4-5
Costs: $1.30 per person using organic ingredients

  • 1 tsp miso paste (preferable blond/shiro miso) 
  • 1 tsp manuka honey 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated  or crushed
  • 1 lemon, juice only 
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed olive oil 
  • 1tsp mineral salt 

  • 1 beetroot, grated 
  • 1 large carrot, grated 
  • 1 small handful of mung-bean sprouts 
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds 
  • 1/4 cup NZ spray-free hazelnuts 
  • 4-6 large spinach leaves, shredded 

Place dressing ingredients in a small screw-top jar and shake vigorously. Toss through salad ingredients.

Laura in the Garden

Check out this little movie of me in the garden with the Ding!

Yummy Recipes

Laura Faire's winter soup and casserole - as see on TVNZ Channel 1 - 

Good Morning 23 July

Spring Onion and Ginger Whole Chicken Soup with two Sauces
Makes: Enough to feed 6 people
Takes: 1 hour
Costs: 3.92 per person
This dish is brilliant for two reasons; it will stretch one little chicken to feed an army and give a winter-cold the boot like no other chicken soup!
Spring Onion and Ginger Whole Chicken Soup
1 small chicken
3cm piece of ginger, bruised and sliced
8 spring onions
1 bunch of coriander
1 tbsp mineral salt
8-10 peppercorns
Enough water to cover
To Serve
1 cup jasmine rice cooked in ample salted water
Hot Spring Onion and Ginger Oil
Chilli and Coriander Infused Soy Sauce
Wash and dry the chicken and stuff with ginger and spring onions, leaving some of each to add to the pot.
Add the chicken to the pot with the remaining ginger and spring onions, coriander, salt, peppercorns and enough boiling water to cover.  Bring up to the boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Turn off heat and leave to rest while cooking the rice and heating the oil for the Hot Spring Onion and Ginger Oil.
To serve, roughly joint the chicken. Arrange a pile of rice in the bottom of each bowl. Add large chunks of chicken to each bowl, ladle over some broth and pour a generous slick of each of the sauces on top.
Hot Spring Onion and Ginger Oil
1/4 cup peanut oil
4 spring onions, finely chopped
4cm piece of ginger, crushed to retain its juices
Combine the spring onion and ginger with its juices and place in a heatproof bowl.
When nearly ready to serve, heat the oil in a small saucepan until nearly smoking and pour over the spring onion and ginger.
Chilli and Coriander Infused Soy Sauce (can be prepared in advance)
1/4 cup light soy sauce (paler, not dark)
1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 large chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Combine and leave to allow the flavours to combine.

Beef, Barley & Orange Casserole
Makes: A good amount for four.
Takes: 3 hours in the oven
Costs: $2.70 per person
This stew is the essence of New Zealand Winter, it is easy to prepare and can be virtually forgotten while in the oven.  It is easily made in a crockpot if that suits better, cook 4 hours on high or 6 -8 hours on low.
600g blade, chuck or gravy beef, cubed
1/4 cup stone-ground organic flour
2 tbsp cold pressed New Zealand olive oil
2  New Zealand navel oranges
2 cups homemade vegetable stock (or 1 cup bought stock with 1 cup water)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
bunch of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp mineral salt
freshly milled black pepper
1/4 cup barley
4-6 stems of either kale, cavalo nero, silverbeet or 3 handfuls of spinach, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 180degC
2. Toss the beef cubes in flour and brown off in batches in a large frying pan using the oil.
3. Deglaze the pan with the juice from one orange and some of the stock, add this liquid to the casserole dish or crockpot.
4. Add to a casserole dish that has a lid or crockpot with the zest and segments of the second orange, the remaining stock, tomato puree, onion, carrot, celery and barley. Cover and cook for 2 1/2 hours in the oven or if using a crockpot 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low.
5. Stir through the sliced green leaves and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

Celery, Black Cabbage and Baby Leek Gratin
Makes: Enough for 4-6 adults
Takes: 50 minutes
Costs: $2.68 each serves four or $1.78 each serves 6
A fancy alternative to cauliflower cheese, this gratin is equally happy served with a Sunday roast or alongside a great piece of fish, steak or chicken.
1/2 a bunch of celery, quartered lengthwise
8 stems of black cabbage/cavalo nero, kale or silverbeet, stems removed
6 baby leeks or one small leek quartered lengthwise
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp stone-ground organic flour
3/4 cup organic whole milk
pinch of mineral salt and white pepper
pinch of fresh nutmeg
1/4 cup parmesan
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumb or panko crumbs
1 tbsp butter, extra
1. Wash the vegetables thoroughly and pat dry, place in a rectangular ovenproof dish.

2. Make a white sauce:
- In a small saucepan melt the butter and add the flour, stir as it cooks for two minutes, do not allow to brown.  It should be a lovely golden colour.
- Remove from the heat and using a fork slowly whisk in the milk.
- Return to the pan and simmer stirring for 3 minutes or until thick.
- Flavour the white sauce with mineral salt, white pepper and a grate of fresh nutmeg.
3. Pour the sauce over the prepared vegetables.
4. Top with combined parmesan and breadcrumbs, dot with the extra butter.
5. Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue to cook for final 10 minutes (or brown under the grill).

Un-Fair Fish Buying Info (2010)

DO NOT BUY: Fish with sustainability issues currently in  New Zealand

Orange Roughy
Tuna - Big Eye & Yellow Fin
Shark - Rig & Lemon Fish
Arrowhead Squid (sustainability levels disputed - fishing method killing threatened Hooker Sea Lion)
NZ Scampi (sustainability levels unknown - fishing method killing threatened Hooker Sea Lion)
Flat Fish - Flounder & Sole (not correctly recorded)
Toothfish - Patagonian and Antarctic

To reach the webpage where this information was sourced Red Fish List -Greenpeace Aotearoa: click here

  • Download a PDF of the Red Fish List for New Zealand for your wall: click here
  • Download the Forest & Bird "Best Fish List 2009 2010"  to keep in your purse: click here

Winter Faire

To be Enjoyed this Winter
Jerusalem artichokes
Cavalo nero
Florence fennel
Kohl rabi
Sweet Potatoes
Spring Onions

Rhubarb Rhubarb Rhubarb

Many of you know that I moved house about ten days ago, well today was day one getting the new garden ready.  Most of the day was spent visiting salvage yards looking for recycled timber and bricks to create the new beds.  The little old lady who was here before us has left a beautiful flower garden and a stunning big rhubarb plant.  Keeping the plant intact from 10 stems this evening I have made a delightful Rhubarb and Cardamom Cordial (can you imagine that as a jelly)?  and using the pulp from the cordial we are having Rhubarb & Apple Vanilla Sponge for pud.  Hurrah.  Viva la Garden!

Rhubarb and Cardamom Cordial

4 cardamom pods
10 stems of rhubarb
2 cups of water
1 cup sugar

Bruise the cardamom pods and add to a deep saucepan with the roughly chopped rhubarb and water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes
Strain and reserve the rhubarb (to make the pudding or to have with your breakfast muesli).
Return the liquid to the pot and place back on the heat stir in the sugar until dissolved. Bring back to the boil before removing from the heat and allowing to cool.

Rhubarb & Apple Vanilla Sponge Pud

4 cups fresh chopped rhubarb and apple

50g or 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 free range organic egg

1 cup stoneground organic flour
1 tsp cream of tartar (or 3 tsp of lemon juice)
1 pinch mineral or sea salt

1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180ºC or 160ºC for fan bake.

  1. Fill an oven proof dish with fruit
  2. Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in egg.
  3. Sift flour, cream of tartar* and salt into a bowl.
  4. Combine baking soda, milk and vanilla extract.
  5. Mix together dry ingredients, creamed mixture and combined liquids.
  6. Spoon over prepared fruit and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.

Cooking Temp: 180ºC
Cooking Time: 30-35 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes

If substituting cream of tartar for lemon juice then add the lemon juice with the other liquid ingredients.

Celeriac and Roasted Garlic Puree

Celeriac is a Winter root vegetable and is available in New Zealand from May through to September.

Makes: Enough to serve 4  Takes: 45 minutes Note: Can be made in advance

The method from this recipe seems convoluted.  It is. But it is truly worth it!  Based on an Auguste Escoffier recipe (known as the chef of kings and a founder of London’s Savoy Hotel) this puree is stunning with dark meats or deep-sea fish. It is vital that a stock of excellent quality is used, a simple homemade stock can be found on page x in the staples chapter. If you must use store bought stock dilute it by half with water.

1 bulb of garlic
1 tsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
3 celeriac (300g), peeled and sliced
50 g butter
1 large potato (200g), peeled and sliced
1 cup of best quality organic vegetable stock
2 tbsp of cream
sea or mineral salt
ground white pepper

Preheat oven to 200ºC
Cut and remove the top fifth off the garlic bulb to expose the cloves.  Pour over olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast in oven for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile boil the celeriac in heavily salted water for 10 minutes. Drain.
Melt butter in a clean saucepan and add the blanched celeriac and potato slices, cover with the vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has mostly evaporated.  Turn off the heat.
When the garlic is roasted squeeze the cloves into the pan with the cooked celeriac and potato.
Combine with cream and push through a sieve.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

TIP: If preparing this puree for a dinner party it can be made up to 3 days in advance and reheated just before serving.

My May Good Morning Recipes

Gouda & Sage Omelette

When thinking about gluten free breakfasts it is easy to forget that many of the foods we eat are naturally gluten free, like eggs, cheese, milk and herbs.  This delicious omelette shows that there need not be a sacrifice for gluten allergies.

2 tsp butter
4 eggs
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp water
1 tsp dried sage or 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves*
1/4 cup grated gouda (or hard cheese)
mineral salt & pepper to taste

  1. Melt the butter in a small omelette pan.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and add to the pan.  Allow to set for 10-20 seconds before using a spatula to push the egg toward the center of the pan. Allow the unset egg mix to run into the space created. Continue pushing into the middle until almost set.
  3. Fold omelette in half, divide in two and serve.

Makes: enough for two people
Takes: 5 minutes
Costs: $3.45

Tip: If you are not sure of your non-stick pan it can help to leave the cheese out until just before serving.
Fresh sage is available most of the year in New Zealand supermarkets.

Ancient Grain Porridge
This combination of ancient grains and rice flakes will allow you to have a soothing and warm breakfast and give you a ton of energy to march on all day.

1 cup milk* soy, rice or almond milks work well here
1/3 cup rice flakes
1 tbsp quinoa flakes
1 tbsp amaranth flakes
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

  1. Combine all the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 7-10 minutes stirring regularly. Serve with your favorite toppings.
Makes: enough for two people
Takes: 7-10 minutes
Costs: 45 cents

Tip: When using flaked products check the packaging to ensure they were processed on a gluten free line.

found: 16 May 2010

It seems to be that time of year when people are either coming down with something or just plain looney-tunes (present company excluded). Therefore with little rhyme or reason this weeks "found" is dedicated to online versions of stuff that normally comes in different forms; the magazine, the movie and inspiring lectures. This weeks found keeps you up to date if you need a quiet night in to recover your health (mental or otherwise).

Online Magazine: sweet paul

I love a glossy foreign mag, but for a long time I have struggled to make this sort of luxury buying a priority. Especially as out of guilt the magazines end up condemned to the backshelf for reference or gifted to the nearest Dr's surgery (yes its me that cut that recipe out).  Online magazines are the perfect solution for those of us who live life in little spaces,  like to keep their footprint light or just plain feel like reading a mag at work without the boss watching!  sweet paul is as it says, a sweet retreat with delicious recipes and pretty pictures.

Online Movies: Food Matters
Viewing movies online is a great way to see stuff that you missed or films that haven't managed to fight it out with the blockbusters to our limited NZ screens.  If you care about what you put in your body and are interested at all in health the documentary Food Matters is a must.  A view by our Prime Minister and Health Minister in New Zealand would be 80 minutes well spent (forward this link if you have the right address)!  Copies of this movie can be bought as a more conventional DVD at many health-food stores.  My copy came from Harvest Wholefoods in Grey Lynn, Auckland (they also have an online store).

Online Inspiring Lectures:
Amazing people sharing their stories, from the most talented molecular scientist to the neural specialist who survived a massive stroke and re-wrote the way we deal with neural damage in hospitals. If the key to growth is learning, pain, more learning, is a reassuring reminder that perseverance pays off, that the world holds people who care, who have brains, opinions, stamina and a willingness to share.  I love this site, it cheers me up, makes me feel inspired.  REVS me uP when I need it and soothes me when I'm sick.  Seriously, check it out.  Screw chicken soup, this is like you tube for the soul!

The link will take you to Viktor Frankl speaking on why we should believe in others.  If you haven't read his small but momentous book "Mans Search for Meaning" click on the link below to buy online.

found: 09 May 2010

This weeks "found" is somewhat of a travelers edition as I am currently working in Australia. It seems at the moment that babies and their restrictions on established lives (or not) is an Autumnal (or perhaps just 30 something) topic of conversation. For those of you in trepidation of parenthood this weeks inspirational site is all about a couple who believe babies don't hold you back.  As usual this week is more alternatives, favorites and inspiration.

Communities for foodies abound around the world, this site is especially for New Zealand food and wine lovers. I enjoy this particular site because of its collection of well written food blogs.  The blog by Leanne Kitchen "The Smart Mouth" is a favorite of mine.  Leanne is one of those inspiring food writers who is also a photographer. She is best known for her books "The Dairy" "The Butcher", "The Baker" etc.

To encourage me further in my hippy-homemaker-ways a very good friend of mine gave me a little book called "Domestic Goddess on a Budget".  I instantly flicked onto the website and had a surf about, the site has a few lovely recipes for homemade cosmetic and cleaning products that are a bit of a sneak preview of the book and products for sale.  I particularly like the recipe for Rosemary or Lavender Hair Rinse.  The link will take you directly to the shop on the site, filled with great products non commercial cleaning products like Wendyl's Lavender Laundry Powder or blueing powder for refreshing your whites (a great favorite with us messy chefs).  All the recipes for Wendyl's products are available if you feel like making them up yourself. 

On a flight last week from Auckland to Wellington I met an inspiring couple who were on the last 40 minutes of a 30 hour journey back from South America. Traveling with their 16 month old gloriously happy baby Emelia (featured with her latest bunch of Peruvian friends), Bec and David are so convinced that babies are part of your family and traveling doesn't have to be removed from your early childhood plans, that they have started the website:    Although it may not convince everyone to take their baby to Brazilian carnival, it certainly inspired this 30 something to be a little less afraid of the oft mention new mother shut down.  For practical tips on living a little with your young ones visit

Thanks for supporting found!  If you have found something you would like to share, I have finally figured out how to enable comments so please add your faves to the site.



Fresh Face Juice

Fresh Face Juice is something that I have at least once a week.  I started making my own juices at home after meeting the directors of the food film "FoodMatters". They believe strongly in fresh food and fresh juices and it shows -they glow!  This simple recipes is a great way to get 5+ a day and it keeps my skin clear and glowing.

1 small beetroot
2 large carrots
1 medium apple (I prefer pacific rose apples)
4 sticks celery

  1. Scrub all of the ingredients and cut into suitable sizes to fit your juicer.
  2. Feed through the juicer and drink immediately.
If you are not using organic fruit and vegetables make sure you scrub them thoroughly in warm water with a dash of vinegar to help remove the pesticide residues.

found 02 May 2010

It has been a stupidly busy fortnight that has seen me down and back from Wellington for the telly, cooking in various houses with photographers (some new to me), new stylists and assistants and a rollicking from a shop assistant.  Life while invigorating can be a little depleting. All in all it has meant for a very quiet weekend of replenishing, hearty food, calm stretches, yogi tea and bit of Nigel Slater on the telly.  Because of all this busy-ness here are a few things that I have "found"help me to relax including a lovely spiritual book by the Medical, Ayuvedic and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra.

Deepak Chopra:

The two most vital things that I have learned this year have been from Deepak Chopras book "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success".  It seems crazy to paraphrase (but I will anyway)  The first thing I learned was to "keep stepping into the unknown".  The second was to take time to experience silence on a regular bases, experiencing silence: no tv, internet, book reading, talking on the phone, listening to music, writing etc, has allowed me to find the quiet needed to lead me back into regular meditation.  It is a simple form of meditation available to anyone and a great way to rest your brain. I also follow Deepak Chopra on Twitter and find the regular messages inspirational throughout my working day.

Yogi Products:

I love these tea's. To the point that I have been holding on to the empty boxes, this is until I found their website.  Each box has a calming yoga pose relevant to the tea, my current favorite is "Moroccan Orange Spice" (Uplift) and the restorative pose "Yoga for Contentment".  To find the perfect calming pose (and tea), click through to the website and enjoy the poses.  These teas are available in a few local wholefood stores, for Auckland I can say for sure that they are at Harvest Wholefoods in Grey Lynn and on the Shore you can find them at IE Produce.

Nigel Slater:

Whole-food, Real-food, Wellness without even knowing it. Nigel Slater cooks simple delicious food.  He is especially a brilliant writer and is my unwitting inspiration. I find his food soothingly real, his style naturally calming.  I know that us foodies should have glamorous, loud, trumpeting heros but this mans quiet meditative way comes though in his stunning food.  Even the website is beautiful and his book "Tender:v.1:A Cook and His Vegetable Patch" is enough to make a health conscious flavor loving cooks weep.

Laura cooks Feel Good Food on Good Morning TV

Yesterdays vegetarian meal recipes are now available on the Good Morning website or click on the title to view the full show.

click here to go to the recipes on the Good Morning website.

click here to go to the TVNZ On Demand page and watch the show.

Laura is on at 10.05 and 11.05.

Slow Cooked Spaghetti Bolognese

The ultimate mince dinner, this slow cooked spaghetti bolognese is perfect for a midweek meal.  Simply load into your crock pot the night before and chill overnight, before switching on in the morning as you walk out the door.  Come home to a slow cooked Italian meal the family will love!

2 tsp vegetable oil
400 g beef mince
1  tsp  mineral salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 tbsp of fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1x400g can organic chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar

300g dried spaghetti
75g parmesan, grated
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the mince in batches, sprinkling with salt and pepper as you go.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in the same frying pan and gently saute the onion, carrot, celery, oregano and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pan with the mince, balsamic and brown sugar. Add to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. Serve with spaghetti and cheese.
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 6 hours
Serves: 4-6

found: 18 April 2010

Welcome to the second issue of Found. This week I have not spent anywhere near as much time traveling the web.  I have been absorbed in reading Patrick Holford's Optimum Nutrition Bible, this has been causing many gasps and moments of astonishment - better than a crime novel! I finally took the time to check out the you tube channel of a friend of mine (admittedly initially at his house), but the work is so beautiful - I keep taking guests hostage and playing clips for them, so to break the habit I share the address with you.  Then I capped the week off with a day of learning more about whole-foods with the Koanga Gardens class on Nutrient Dense Food incluing Weston A. Price's practices of fermentation.
Therefore, this week the global world of wellness, whole-food and inspiration is a pleasure to share with you.

Patrick Holford's New Optimum Nutrition Bible. (wellness)

I have been so inspired by this man I have added him to my "Health Heroes" list on Twitter! This book is amazing, it explains the intricacies of health, eating and living well in a way that is easy to understand, but certainly not dumbed down.  There is no skimping on research paper references, pictures, diagrams and analogies. If you have a body that you want to run at the OPTIMUM - feel brilliant and bursting, then this is a great book.  It may make strange bedtime reading to anyone else, but Patrick Holford has a secure place on my bedside table.

You Tube Channel: mozely1 (inspirational)

This is 5 short clips, kids on skateboards, a guy with a camera, a great song or two.  Simple, serene and stylish, produced solely for pleasure and inspiration.  I watched this clip with an 8 year old friend of mine who was propped up at my kitchen bench this week.  We both felt compelled to watch the lot. Enjoy..

Koanga Gardens Nutrient Dense Food Workshop (whole-food)

I have to admit I need to do some reading on Weston A Price.  I can share with you that he was a dents from Ohio who in the 1930's began the research into the cultural and community differences in diet.  He specialized in communities that had been untouched by civilization and many of his theories are very influential in healthy eating practices now.   His book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" is a record of his study, although I can not personally recommend the book at this stage I can recommend the day course that I attended at Koanga.  The following link will take you to their course information page (they are located just North of Auckland in Kaiwaka).

Blueberry Buttercake for a Crowd

When cooking for huge catering jobs cake recipes get multiplied, then divided, then multiplied.  Until at some point it is hard to remember just what size cake you will end up with when cooking from old scratch up note books and shabby crossed out worksheets.  This recipe is one of those, it needs to be made in a 31 x21 cm roasting pan (this is the size of the standard supermarket bought roasting pan).

250 g butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sour cream (500g pottle)
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups blueberries (two punnets)

Preheat oven to 180ºC

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add to the mixture alternately with the combined sour cream and vanilla essence.
  3. Pour batter into a 20 cm spring-form cake pan and sprinkle with blueberries.
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when tested.
When cool, cut into large squares and serve dusted with icing sugar.