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simple meals

seafood simple meals

Thai salmon parcels

July 24, 2014

This is a really delicate, flavoursome dish and so easy to do with the added bonus of no messy frying. The rice has a sweet, sticky coconut flavour – very yummy.  The hardest part is knowing whether your salmon is cooked and you don’t want to overcook it. Test one after 10 minutes by checking the flakiness of the middle of the piece of salmon, it should be juicy and just flaking. If it’s not flaking at all in the center then it will need another few minutes.



Serves two

250-300 grams of fresh salmon, cut into two pieces
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
4 tablespoons of coconut milk
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 makrut (kaffir) lime leaf, finely chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1 cup of black rice or basmati rice
2 tablespoons of fresh coriander and parsley, chopped
Himalayan or sea salt
Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Cook the rice according to instructions on the packet.

Mix together the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, chilli and makrut lime.

In a baking tray add two rectangles of baking paper (large enough so you can enclose your salmon parcel). Place half a cup of the cooked rice into the middle of each piece of baking paper and spread a little. Add a salmon piece on each. Spoon over even quantities of the coconut milk mixture on each parcel. Top with half of the spring onion. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the sides over each and then fold the ends and roll them up to enclose your parcels. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve with coriander, parsley and extra spring onion.






breakfast light meals simple meals Vegetarian

Eggs en cocette with spinach, mushrooms and parmesan

May 4, 2014

It’s been awhile between blog posts. April was a month where ‘life happened’, it was tough. A good friend lost her beautiful daughter in a tragic accident, bearing witness to this has been heartbreaking. Then a nasty flu virus hit me and it was hard to overcome. Now it’s May and my youngest son and I have been staying in a remote part of New Zealand (by the sea) for ten days of R&R. It’s been very peaceful and we are ready to head home again in a couple of days.

This morning I felt like eggs with a difference for breakfast so decided to try eggs en cocette with spinach and mushrooms. This was so delicate and beautiful to eat – undoubtedly the best eggy breakfast!

IMG_8093b IMG_8100b

INGREDIENTS (for two servings)
2 organic eggs
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 large mushrooms, chopped
120g of baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons of cream
2 tablespoons of parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Knob of butter
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease 2 ramekins with butter. Gently pan fry the onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil and butter until the onion is soft. Add the spinach leaves and stir through til wilted (about a minute). Remove from the heat add the nutmeg and cool. Once cool, drain off any excess liquid and chop. Add half of the spinach mixture to each ramekin. With a spoon press the spinach to make a well in the middle and spread up the sides of the ramekin. Break an egg into each one. Add two tablespoons of cream to each ramekin, sprinkle each with one tablespoon of parmesan. Sprinkle each with half the parsley then season with salt and pepper.

Place the egg ramekins in a larger oven proof dish, pour boiling water into the dish till the level is half way up the sides of the ramekin. Place carefully in the oven and bake for 15 minutes for soft eggs. Remove carefully, garnish with parsley and serve. So tasty.



IMG_8128b Beautiful bougainvillea in flower where we are staying.

photob Waihau Bay, East Cape, New Zealand.

raw food salads simple meals

Heirloom tomato cups with goat feta and basil dressing

March 10, 2014

This time of year in New Zealand (late summer), tomatoes are plentiful and cheap. Tomatoes and basil are an old match made in heaven. I brought a bag of mixed heirloom tomatoes from my local, Waihi Beach farmgate deli and came up with this little treat for an entree on a hot, late summer’s day…


A handful of tomatoes per person (the smaller varieties), cut in half
100g goat feta, chopped
1 tablespoon of chives, chopped

3 large basil leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, minced

Place all the dressing ingredients in a screw top jar and shake.

Place the tomatoes and feta into serving dishes, spoon over dressing, garnish with chives.



light meals simple meals Vegetarian

Rustic avocado pistachio toast

February 19, 2014

I love rustic, simple food it’s no secret. And living in the western bay of plenty, New Zealand means I am surrounded by avocado trees. They become a staple diet here especially when funds run a little low! They’re a whole meal in one, can’t beat them. When my children were babies I always had a ripe avo in my bag that I could just mash and spoon feed to quickly fill hungry tummies.


Toast a handful of whole pistachio nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Toast 2 slices of lovely wholemeal bread – I’ve used a locally made 5-grain one. Squish 1/4 a ripe avocado on each one, sprinkle with seeds and nuts, drizzle with balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice), avocado oil (or olive oil). Garnish with chopped parsley or coriander, season with freshly ground salt and pepper.


1/2 ripe avocado
Pistachio nuts
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
Avocado oil or olive oil
wholemeal or wholegrain rustic bread
Chopped flat leaf parsley or coriander
Salt and pepper

Favourite recipes light meals seafood simple meals

Mum’s mussel fritters

December 14, 2013

There’s something about mussel fritters that’s very addictive and very New Zealand. I couldn’t imagine life without New Zealand seafood or life without my mum! I’ve watched her make these countless time and I think the trick really is in the prep (see recipe).




12 fresh mussels
1/2 brown onion
a good handful of parsley, chopped finely (I also add some fresh coriander)
1 egg
1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil for frying

You need to place the unopened mussels in a bowl or the kitchen sink and pour hot water over them, this makes them easier to open. Then open the shells, discard the nasty hairy bit (haha), remove the mussel from the shell and place the mussels into a food processor. Add all the other ingredients and pulse to mix. The batter should still be a little on the chunky side. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat the olive oil in a fry pan. Fry large tablespoons of mixture gently in the oil until golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges. Because the mussels are not pre-cooked the result is very delicate, fresh tasting fritters!

Other variations may include adding half a grated courgette to the mix and serving with a lemon mayonnaise (see below).


2 egg yolks (your eggs must be fresh otherwise the mayo won’t thicken)
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup of oil (olive or rice bran or canola)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped

Using a stick blender or whisk, mix together the egg yolks and lemon juice. While the blender is going slowly trickle in the oil, the emulsion will gradually thicken to a smooth mayonnaise consistency. Place into a small bowl, stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Favourite recipes seafood simple meals

Fresh mussels steamed in coconut broth

November 27, 2013

Fresh mussels are a tasty, healthy and inexpensive meal here in New Zealand. This recipe has awesome flavours and is a favourite of mine – and well worth a try. Have them for a weekend lunch or summer later afternoon light meal with white wine. Enjoy!


1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 spring onions, sliced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1/2 a kaffir lime leaf, finely chopped
1/2 a red chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup unsweetened coconut cream
1/2 a cup of water (add more if you like a thinner broth)
20 fresh mussels, rinsed, scrubbed & de-bearded
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup whole coriander leaves
1/2 cup of chopped parsley

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot until hot. Add the spring onion, garlic, kaffir lime and chile. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut cream, water and mussels. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until the mussels have opened, 5 to 7 minutes (discard any mussels that remained closed). Remove from heat, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a large bowl, leaving the liquid in the pot. Stir the lemon zest and juice, half the coriander and parsley into the pot.

Scoop the mussels into a large serving bowl. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle over the rest of the coriander and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with crusty sour dough bread to soak up the tasty juices.





seafood simple meals

Fresh scallop fettuccine

August 2, 2013

Having grown up constantly gathering shellfish from Northland West Coast Toheroa to Waihau Bay mussels, I have developed a lifelong love of New Zealand seafood. I’m not sure whether it has been the gathering aspect or the taste that has fueled this culinary passion more. Scallops are a personal favourite though and I have dived for them many times over the years (not so much in recent years). My fondest memory of the best scallops ever is from a trip to Little Barrier island where the scallops were big, fat and plentiful.

This recipe was originally created by friend and chef, James Broad of Cuisine Concepts. It’s a fantastic recipe, simple and flavoursome. If you love scallops it’s really a must to try this recipe!



500g cooked fettucine
200g sliced, fried chorizo sausage
200g chopped, fried bacon
12 fresh scallops quickly pan fried
100g baby spinach
50g capers

Combine the chorizo, bacon, scallops, spinach and capers.

50mls lemon juice
50mls olive oil

Shake the lemon juice and olive oil together. Serve the pasta on a large platter. Top with the scallop mixture and then pour over the dressing.
Season and serve.

beef light meals salads simple meals

Thai beef salad with dipping sauce

July 11, 2013

This is very easy and tasty, the chilli adds a bit of extra flavour burst. It also looks so impressive and colourful when served.




For the salad:
2 eye fillet or 1 sirloin or 1 scotch fillet steak
1 large handful of rocket
2 large handfuls of salad leaves
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 red capsicum, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup of mung bean sprouts (optional)
Freshly ground salt and pepper

For the dressing:
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small red chilli, chopped finely
1 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced or diced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
Freshly ground salt and pepper

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and place in a lidded jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Marinate the steak for 1 – 2 hours in a little of the dressing.

Barbecue or pan fry your steak till medium rare. Set aside and rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile mix all the salad ingredients together except the lime zest and 1/2 of the sesame seeds. Serve on to a platter.

Thinly slice the steak and add to the top of the salad. Shake up the dressing and pour some over the beef salad and some into a dipping saucer. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the rest of the sesame seeds and the lime zest.

seafood simple meals

Prawns with soba noodles and lime dressing

July 1, 2013

This is a favourite recipe of mine created by Tauranga chef James Broad from Cuisine concepts. It’s simple and delicious. If you can’t find soba noodles then you can use udon or ramen.

500 grams soba noodles
500 grams prawns
Spring onions, sliced
Fresh coriander

80 mls Japanese Soy sauce
1 lime – juice and zest
10 mls Fish sauce
50 grams palm sugar
20 mls Bestow Beauty Oil (optional)

Cook noodles till soft, cool.

Add dressing ingredients to saucepan except the Bestow Beauty Oil (if you are using it), heat to dissolve palm sugar, cool, add Bestow Beauty Oil. Combine with noodles and sliced spring onions.

Quickly pan fry prawns in a hot pan with a tbsp of olive oil and a knob of butter. Add to noodles, toss together, season and serve with fresh coriander.