Crunchy kale salad

Another fave, this is a delicious and healthy salad for lunch, with the right amount of crunch to make you feel satisfied.

1/4 C sunflower seeds

1/4 C grated parmesan

Bunch of kale, thinly sliced, stems removed

1/2 apple, thinly sliced

4-5 brussel sprouts (or 1/4 broccoli), thinly sliced


Mix together olive oil, juice of a lemon (I like a 50:50 oil : citrus ratio), 1 crushed garlic, 1 tsp dijon mustard

Drizzle the dressing over the kale and sprouts, then massage the dressing into the leaves. Add seeds, cheese, a generous crack of S+P and mix through.

Jalapeno sauce

Current obsession. I start getting really panicky when my jar of this is getting low and there are no backup jalapenos in the cupboard.

This is my homemade version of the Jalapeno Sauce from Trader Joes, which is sadly not available in Tairua. I will admit, I was suspicious about this sauce. How do you improve on jalapenos? Turns out you sauce them. Honestly. It’s like mainlining jalapenos.

1 jar of pickled jalapenos

1/4 C oil (I usually use rice bran)

Drain jalapenos, save approx 1/4 C pickling juice

Put in a blender with oil

Blend. Smother on everything. Wonder why you ever bothered chewing.

Chocolate chip log

Another classic 1980s desert. I remember being really excited when Mum made this.

1 packet chocolate chippie biscuits

300 mls cream, whipped

1 cup black coffee

1-2 shots of brandy or whisky

Pro tip – make sure the coffee is cold before you use it!

Put shot of brandy into the coffee, then quickly dip each biscuit into the coffee

Join the biscuits together with the whipped cream to form a log

If you have any leftover cream, spread over the log to completely cover it (drizzle with shaved chocolate if you want to take it up a notch)

Put in the fridge to set for 1/2 hour.

Aunty Jane’s Famous Prawn Cocktail

This is a very special recipe to be given from Aunty Jane. When I think of Aunty Jane, I think of tea, cricket and her prawn cocktail. The story goes that she ate this at a fancy restaurant and was then given the recipe by the chef.

1/2 C mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. curry powder

2-3 Tbspn tomato sauce

1 Tbspn lemon juice

Shake of pepper


Mix and chill for 2 hours

Mix with 1/4 C whipped cream before serving.

Cheese roll

This definitely feels like something Mum would have taken to a mid-week ladies’ tennis ‘bring a plate’ situation. The 80’s were good times.

250g cream cheese

1/2 C grated cheese

2 spring onions, chopped

1 tsp curry powder

Roll it all together into a ball.

Mix up 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp turmeric and dust the outside of the ball.

Serve with crackers and wait for the accolades to roll in.

Lentil coconut curry

I made this a LOT in San Fran. A perfect mid-week vegan one-pot wonder, that the kids like – ticks all the boxes. Goes really nicely with Aloo Gobi and a pile of steamed spinach.

2 Tbspn coconut oil

1 Tbspn each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, curry powder

1 clove garlic

1 28oz can of tomatoes (2 x 400g)

2 Tbspn grated ginger

1 Tbspn turmeric

2 tsp salt

1 C dried lentils

3 C water (Reduce to 1 C if using Instant pot)

1-2 tsp cayenne

1 15 oz can coconut milk (1 400g can)

In the hot coconut oil, toast the cumin and coriander seeds for 45 seconds, then add garlic ginger and curry powder. Fry until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric and salt, cook for 5 minutes.

Add the dry lentils, water, cayenne and coconut milk.

If using a pot – cook for 35-40 minutes. If using the marvel that is the instant pot, pressure cook for 20 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with coriander (or cilaaaaaantro if you’re speaking American).

Cali vegan caesar

This is based on a vegan caesar salad I used to regularly buy at Woodlands market in San Fran.

Romaine lettuce

Parmesan seed cheese;

Process in a blender;

  • 2 Tbspn cashew nuts
  • 2 Tbspn sunflower
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Baked chickpeas

Fry drained chickpeas in olive oil and cumin for 5 minutes until golden.


Combine 50:50 ratio of lemon juice and tahini.

Lay out romaine, sprinkle over chickpeas and ‘cheese’. Drizzle with dressing.

Ang’s chocolate cake

This is from a very special lady, Ang. Amongst her many gifts, she was a talented baker. This is my go-to birthday cake recipe, and baking it brings back the love and warmth she radiated.

This cake can be made dairy-free and is also egg free.

2 1/2 C flour

2 C sugar

1/2 C cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 C warm water or milk

1/2 C oil

2 Tbspn vinegar

2 tsp vanilla essence

Sift the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Stir until just mixed. Bake at 180oC for 35 minutes or until cooked through.

Nana’s lemon crust pudding

This is a very special recipe from Carl’s Nana Dudu. It uses up the saved crusts you’d have in the freezer from the asparagus rolls. 😍

1/2 fill a pie dish with bread crusts. Pour boiling water over the crusts and quickly pour off.

Pour over lemon sauce;

2 eggs

60g butter

Juice and rind of 2 lemons

1 C sugar

1 C boiling water

Cook in a moderate oven 3/4 – 1 hour, or until brown and crispy on top.

Wainui special

No idea how this got the name but it sure is special. Another regular in Nanny’s tins.

1 C flour

½ C sugar

1 Tbspn cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1 C coconut

1 C crushed weet-bix, cornflakes or rolled oats (rolled oats are Mum’s favourite)

125 g butter

Melt butter and combine with dry ingredients. Bake 180˚C for 20-25 minutes.

Ice while hot with chocolate icing. Cut when cool.