Such a delicious meal, these go particularly nicely in the summer time when there is an abundance of colourful vegetables. Basically when I make these tasty tarts, I get some pastry (I like puff pastry more, and because it is harder to make, for convenience sake I usually pre-buy it) and then just layer it with everything possible. Depending on what you choose to put on it, it may require pre-cooking some of the vegetables so that everything is cooked the way you want it when it is served.
- 4 sheets of puff pastry
- an array of summer vegetables, including zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onion, capsicum
- something to put on the base – whether it be caramelised onion, diced beetroot, hummus/pesto, olive oil or some other kind of sauce
- basil for garnish
- Roll the pastry out so that it is about 1 cm thin. Roll over the edges to form a small crust (which will puff up massively when it cooks).
- Spread a base layer across the pastry and then layer with whatever you please.
- Bake in the oven for about half an hour on 180°C.
This refreshing little recipe always makes my heart sing on a warm summers’ day, and the greatest thing about it is that you can make a stack of it in the summer when berries are cheap, and then you can enjoy it right through the winter too! Somewhat surprisingly, the recipe isn’t actually that sweet so you may find it necessary to increase the level of honey. It is also possible to mix up the fruit (for example mango & raspberry, and /or peach & strawberry + 1 t vanilla) – just keep in mind that the fruit : yoghurt ratio should always be 3 : 1.
- 350 g frozen berries
- 125 g yohurt
- 2 – 3 T honey
- 1 T lemon or lime juice
- Blend all ingredients.
- Scrape into container, cover and freeze.
One of the most simple recipes I have ever seen, yet so hard to get right. You are playing with delicate flavours, and because they are quite distinctive (and intense) the ratio that I have found for myself mayn’t even be right for you. So you might have to a bit of your own experimenting, keeping in mind that flavours intensify a lot once they are frozen.
- 1 c water
- 1.5 c coconut milk
- 2 T lime juice
- 1/2 c caster sugar
I love finding new salad recipes, especially at the end of the summer when it can be hard to get new ideas so you end up having the same thing every day. This salad is quick, easy and fresh – and like the best of summer salads, it is super colourful. The haloumi adds a new texture and creaminess to the dish, but if you wanted to use other cheese instead that would totally be fine – except maybe reduce the quantity a tad.
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T ground cumin
- 1 t smoked paprika
- 1/2 t sea salt
- 1 t fennel seeds
- 2 x 400g can chickpeas
- 3 carrots, julienned (I just use a peeler)
- 1 c fresh coriander
- 1 c mint leaves
- 200 g haloumi, grated
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 t honey
- 1 T olive oil, extra
- In a pan, heat some oil and then add the cumin, paprika, salt and fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the chickpeas and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Place the carrot, coriander, mint, haloumi, lemon juice, honey and extra olive oil into a bowl.
- Top with the chickpeas and serve.
One of those deliciously ice-cream like recipes, but without the need for an ice-cream maker. It kills me when I see all these mouth-watering recipes for ice-cream that require an ice-cream maker halfway down the page. This one is super easy – just mix the ingredients and chuck them all into the freezer. It is an incredibly refreshing dessert, and is nice and light – meaning it goes down easy once people have already eaten a big meal. It’s not overly sweet, and is easily garnished with fresh fruit and the like, so makes it seem not as unhealthy… Perfect summer treat, just double the mixture if you want to feed a dinner party’s worth (about 10 people). You can either make it as one layer by using a cake tin, or do what I did and use two pie dishes and then layer them on top of each other.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 c caster sugar
- pinch salt
- 300 ml cream
- 1 T caster sugar
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 T lemon zest (approximately 3 lemons)
- fresh berries to serve
- orange zest to serve
- Line either the cake tin or pie dishes with gladwrap.
- Add egg whites and first measure of sugar to a heatproof bowl. Set it over a pot of boiling water and whisk until the mixture is warm/hot (it will take a few minutes).
- Remove from the heat and beat on a low speed for about 5 minutes, until firm peaks form and they hold their shape. Add the salt and beat a tiny bit more.
- Place the cream and second measure of sugar in a new mixing bowl, and beat only until soft peaks form. The mixture should be thick, but not stiff.
- Add a big spoonful of cream to the beaten eggs and gently fold.
- Add the lemon juice, zest and remaining cream and continue to fold.
- Smooth out the top, cover and freeze.
- Serve with fresh berries and orange zest. If you use two layers (ie the pie dishes) you could put some additional fruit in the middle layer.
This salad is so beautiful, so tasty, so fresh and has the added bonus of being healthy! There is a massive assortment of fruit and vegetables included within the salad, guaranteeing you that 5+ a day (servings and colours included). There is also protein from the haloumi and texture from the walnuts.
- 3c lettuce leaves (I use half rocket and half baby spinach)
- 1/2 seeded pomegranate
- 15 cherry tomatoes (whole or cut)
- 1/4 sliced cucumber
- 1/2 orange
- 1/2 yellow capsicum
- 10 strawberries
- halloumi cheese (as much as you want – I tend to use the whole block)
- [any other fruit and vegetables you want to add – purple cabbage looks pretty great!]
- nuts and seeds / candied walnuts (see recipe below)
- Dressing: 1/4 EVOO + lemon + 2 T balsamic
- To make the candied walnuts, cook the walnuts in 2T of butter and 1/4C brown sugar. Stir frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn and add any additional sugar/butter as needed. It takes awhile for the sugar to melt properly – when it does it will turn into quite a liquid, but once taken off the heat it will harden up again quickly. While it is a liquid make sure all the nuts have been coated, and then once removed from the heat, separate the nuts out on a plate because once they harden they are really hard to break.
- Mix all the fruit and vegetables. (I like to layer all the salad ingredients so that it looks super pretty, but it isn’t essential because it ends up all being mixed anyway!)
- Slice the haloumi thinly into slices. Cook either on the BBQ, or in a pan – using oil to ease the stickiness.
- Add the dressing just before you serve the salad, to avoid it going soggy.
Yet another simple recipe (if you haven’t already learnt by now, I’m all about the convenience – without compromising the quality of course), asparagus is such a summer time food, and this recipe is perfect for cooking on the BBQ. I get my asparagus from the farmers market, and it is so beautifully cheap when it is in season that it is rare for a week to go by without me purchasing some.
- a bunch of asparagus, snapped at the ends
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Mix the asparagus with the salt, pepper and lemon and fry on the barbeque.
- Drizzle a little more oil on before serving.
With summer well on its way, time to crank up the barby and get some fresh meat and salad on the way. There’s nothing more useful come this time of year, than to have an easy, crowd-pleasing salad that you can whip up in a flash which is guaranteed to satisfy the masses. This salad is great; the dressing packs a good punch (and is also a fantastic colour), and the kumara (aka sweet potato) provides something more substantial than just your classic green salad.
Collect (for the salad)
- 3 large kumara/sweet potato
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 spring onions
- 1/4 c sunflower seeds
- microgreens (optional to serve)
Collect (for the dressing)
- flat leaf parsley
- 3 garlic
- 1 orange
- 1/2 t raw honey
- 1/4 c EVOO
- Cut the kumara into large cubes and bake with the olive oil and salt at 180°C until cooked.
- Blend the mint, parsley, garlic, orange juice, honey and EVOO.
- Pour 1/4 over the kumara and save the rest for later.
- Add spring onion, sunflower seeds, rocket to the kumara.
- Top with microgreens, orange zest and pour the rest of the dressing over.
I love summer. So, so much. One of my favourite things is that the fresh fruit and vegetables available not only exponentially increase in variety, but also reduce in price. For the first time since last summer I saw asparagus for only $2.50 / bunch. Sold! In addition to this, pomegranates were half the price that they were last week – needless to say, I stocked up. As I ambled home from the markets I was contemplating what I should make for dinner, and I remembered that I had wanted to make this recipe for a while, but was unwilling to pay an arm and a leg for the asparagus. Finally – sticky chicken satay, coming right up!
- 1/2 c crunchy peanut butter
- 1 T melted coconut oil
- 2 T tamari
- 1 t chilli flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cm knob of ginger, minced
- 6 chicken thighs / drumsticks
- 300 g sugar snap peas (I couldn’t find sugar snap peas ANYWHERE, so instead I used green beans – which also worked a treat)
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 small capsicum (I like red to give it some colour)
- 2 green onions
- 1/4 c peanuts
- 1 lime
- 2 T white sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Melt the peanut butter and coconut oil and add the tamari, chili, garlic and ginger to form a paste.
- Spread the chicken across a baking tray and rub the paste over the chicken.
- Place in the oven and bake until 2/3 cooked (about 30 minutes).
- Meanwhile, boil the vegetables for 1 minute just to take the crunch off them.
- Remove chicken from the oven and arrange the vegetables, peanuts, lime wedges and sesame seeds around and over the chicken.
- Return to oven and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
- Serve with couscous (cooked in chicken stock, ratio 1:2), fresh pomegranate and rocket.
At over 1 million, Auckland is New Zealand’s most populated city, and the country’s business hub. But it is not the capital, and as a Wellingtonian (and therefore undoubtedly biased) I think it lacks the exceptional vibe and culture that Wellington offers. But it is an obvious and almost inevitable stop when one visits New Zealand, and if you don’t know what to do when you visit, it is easy to leave feeling both underwhelmed and unsatisfied. I love visiting Auckland, and have thought up a list of 10 of my favourite things to do there. I have tried to include a variety so there is something for everyone.
- Ponsonby. Less than a 30 minute walk from the CBD and waterfront, it has shopping and delicious eateries in abundance. If you are feeling a bit indecisive, Ponsonby Central allows you to prolong that decision with its huge array of choices – ranging from Mexican and Italian to South American and Japanese. Mekong Baby specialised in modernised Vietnamese food, which was so incredibly fresh and tasty; although I would recommend making a booking. For those who need a health kick, the Little Bird Unbakery has an Insta-worthy cabinet and a shop with some of its delicious treats for sale. Ponsonby is also home to Orphan’s Kitchen and Little & Friday – two classic brunch eats.
- Eat. When in doubt, eat. Auckland’s culinary scene has evolved so dramatically in the past few years, it almost rivals Wellingtons. Depot by Al Brown sits firmly at the top of my list for fine dining, but if you want Al Brown on a casual basis head along to my absolute favourite spot at City Works Depot. Not only does Al’s Best Ugly Bagels feature, but so does The Food Truck, Odette’s and The Botanist – and not one will disappoint. Also nearby is Scratch Bakers and Major Sprout – both options are almost worth dying for. In Britomart my vote lies with Amano, although this is still relatively fine dining – great for brunch though.
- Shopping. If you want the chain stores then Queen Street and Britomart are where you should head. Otherwise, Ponsonby offers some exceptional boutique shopping, and with Newmarket thrown into the mix it’s hard to go wrong.
- Markets. There is an abundance of themed markets dotted around Auckland. One of the best is La Cigale; a French themed market on Saturday mornings in Parnell, as well as the Matakana market located about an hour north of the city.
- Rangitoto Island. A return trip will set you back $30, but it’s money well spent. It takes about half an hour to get there, and it is essential that you take food and water because there is nothing available on the island. The ferries head over a couple of times a day, and there is emphasis on making sure that you make it back to the wharf in time to catch the last ferry back; unless you want to spend the night on the island! It is a relatively easy walk to the summit (about an hour) and there is plenty of other tracks available, including past some historic baches, and lava caves (take a torch!).
- Auckland Zoo. I love animals, and I love the zoo. Auckland Zoo never fails to please either; it has basically everything – including a hippo! Located in Western Springs it is pretty easy to get to; buses run frequently and there is free parking if you want to drive. Definitely allow at least a few hours and there are plenty of picnic spots to break for lunch.
- Sky Tower. No trip to Auckland is complete without one to the Sky Tower. At 328 metres high it is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Dine at Peter Gordon’s The Sugar Club, or if you are feeling slightly more daring, feel free to through yourself off the side by doing the SkyJump. Adrenaline rush, need I say more?
- Catch a ferry somewhere. Whether it is for a mere harbour cruise, or across to Devonport, it can be extremely liberating escaping the big city life for even just a day. Devonport is pretty amazing; I stayed in an Air BnB there recently and it is such a cute spot. The views looking back to the city are also unreal. A prime destination is Waiheke Island; which is one sweet getaway. About a 40 minute ferry from Auckland’s CBD it is a great place to unwind. Whether you want to swim at the beach, bike the vineyards sampling wine or just kick back in in the sun Waiheke has it all.
- Rainbow’s End. The pot of gold at the end of my list, Rainbow’s End is New Zealand’s only real theme park, and is sure to provide a great day for the whole family. If you can go there on a week day, there will like be next to no-one at the park (meaning you don’t have to queue up for anything, and you can ride things multiple times in a row!) Or visit Kelly Tarlton’s for some Antarctic fun.
- Beaches. The one thing that Auckland has which Wellington doesn’t is the beaches to go with its improved climate. Visit Mission Bay, Omaha, or if you feel like a drive make your way north. The further you go, the better it gets.