Baked Lemon Cheesecake

Photo provided by Devin Hart
50 grams butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup quark
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup semolina or instant polenta
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/2 cup lemon curd
Preheat the oven to 170C or 150C if fan-forced, butter and flour a 20 cm spring-form cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
Beat in quark and egg yolks until well combined.
Stir through, almonds, semolina, lemon zest and juice.
Whip egg whites until soft peaks form and fold through quark mixture.
Pour into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour.
Remove from pan and spread lemon curd over the top.

Serves 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Lentil Bake

An exceptionally cheap meal, filling and flavoursome it’ll warm you up on  a winters night.  If you can’t be bothered mashing potatoes, cover with foil before baking.
Photo by Devin Hart - The Vertical Line
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup diced pumpkin
3 cups vegetable stock
4 leaves silverbeet (chard), sliced
¼ cup walnuts
1 ¾ cups red lentils
2 cups mashed potato
2 tablespoons grated parmesan or cheddar

Preheat oven to 200ºC

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and pumpkin until browned and beginning to soften.

Add the vegetable stock and heat through, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brownings from the bottom of the pan as you stir.

Add the silverbeet, walnuts and lentils and pour into an oven-proof baking dish.

Top with mashed potato and cheese.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
Cost per serve: $2.09

Watercress and Split Pea Soup

Photo: Devin Hart -

Green split peas are a wonderful pulse as they do not require soaking. They are perfect for bulking up this cream-less yet creamy watercress soup.  Suitable for making ahead of time and reheating, it will also freeze well.

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ leek, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup dried split peas
3 cups vegetable stock
400 grams watercress
1 tablespoon lemon juice
a slick of avocado oil and a little yoghurt or cream to serve, optional

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.

Add the leek, onion and garlic and cook gently until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes).

Add the split peas and vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the split peas are soft and mushy.

Discard as much of the watercress stem as possible before adding to the soup.  Heat through and then blend thoroughly using a stick blender or a food processor (take care with hot liquid in a food processor, it is usually better to cool it first and then reheat if you have time).

Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Serve with a slick of avocado oil and little yoghurt or cream to make it look pretty.

Serves 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Cost per serve: $2.00

Busy in the Kitchen & Garden

It has been such a busy month, that I haven't posted anything here at all.   I am very excited to have joined the team at Escape for the Sunday Star Times as their new food columnist.

This month I have also created and shot 3 features for New Worlds Real Magazine.

Prepared and tested my 3 recipes for this Fridays Good Morning Show on TVNZ.  I am very excited this month as photographer Devin Hart has created beautiful images for these recipes which I will also showcase on my blog.

I received the first copy of my new book Now is the season (in stores in October) published by New Holland Publishers. I have been excitedly flipping through it and cooking from it for friends.

I also now have a blog on for people to enjoy, a fantastic New Zealand food site, I am yet to write anything interesting there yet either but next week looks a little quiter (if you discount my birthday and two full days shooting food- ok maybe next week isn't any better).

On the home front we are still settling into our funny little house, we have nearly finished fixing up the kitchen (very cheaply, thank goodness our 1970's oven is fantastic and didn't need replacing). Just to punish ourselves, my husband and i put in a full vegetable garden and it is growing away nicely. Even if the muscles in my arms are still burning from shifting two cubic metres of Living Earth organic garden mix in the weekend.

I have  a few other exciting projects in the wings that I look forward to sharing with everyone soon.

On Friday evening when I get home from Wellington I will post the recipes with Devins images- they are rather delicious, if I do say so myself.

Until then, take care