Category Archives: home cooking

Spring salmon asparagus salad

Smoky smoked salmon is the perfect fast food when you want dinner on the table ASAP. If only bought fast food tasted this good; this is natural, simple ingredients put together to make an easy light meal.

Smoked salmon with couscous, roasted feta and asparagus

200 grams smoked salmon
2/3 cup uncooked couscous
100 grams. Cucumber thinly sliced on the diagonal (dressed in lemon juice olive oil and sea salt, pepper)
Bunch of fresh asparagus spears
100 grams feta cheese
Fresh dill
100 grams sour cream with a squeeze of lemon juice to loosen it.
X2 medium boiled fresh eggs

1/ prepare couscous according to packet instructions.
2/ bring salmon to room temperature
3/ pre heat oven to 190 degrees and snap ends of asparagus and wash and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper. Add the feta cheese to this by breaking Into chunks and make sure it has some olive oil and seasoning on it too. Roast this on a tray for approx 12-18 min till the asparagus is tender and feta a bit browned.
4/ assemble salad couscous, cucumber , asparagus, salmon broken into chunks, spur cream, feta, egg and dill.more seasoning.




October 17, 2014 · 6:22 PM

Baked vegetable rissoto

There are times that I struggle to get the oomph for 16.9 minutes at the stove, wooden spoon in hand, stirring and stirring my risotto to creaminess. So I don’t, I relax, pour a glass of wine, put the risotto inside a hot oven to bake and step away from the oven and forget about it for 20 minutes. You can virtually change this risotto up with whatever ingredients you have at hand according to the seasons. I have been thoroughly enjoying the new season broad beans with just about everything and they go beautifully with this risotto. I love how they enliven it up from tasting too stodgy, and the fresh herbs, cheese and lemon juice makes this really fresh tasting.

Tomato and pumpkin risotto with fresh broad beans

200grams arborio rice
Stick of finely diced celery
One small onion diced
Two garlic clove chopped to a paste
One carrot finely chopped
25 grams butter
4x tablespoons of olive oil
Half a cup of white wine
400 gram tin of Italian chopped tomatoes
500 mls of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup of pumpkin diced to 1.5 cms big
Bag of fresh broad beans
Parmesan cheese
Fresh flat leaf parsley
A cast iron with a lid is ideal to cook this in.

1. Preheat your oven to 200 deg. On top of your stove Heat oil and butter over gentle heat and cool celery, onion, garlic and carrot for 7-10 minutes until they have softened but not browned. Add the pumpkin.

2. Add the rice and increase the heat a little so it toasts for about 30 seconds or so. Then add the wine, wait for it to evaporate.

3. Add the tomatoes, stock and butter. Bring to the boil then clamp on a lid and place in your hot oven for approx 20 – 25 minutes. Start checking it at 20 minutes to make sure it does not dry out and that it is cooked enough.
Once cooked remove from oven and stir through Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs. Then check for seasoning. Place the lid back on for it to sit for a minute.

4. Put the kettle on. Get your broad beans podded. Place a pot on the stove with hot boiling salted water. Drop the broad beans into the boiling water to cook until they go bright green or 2-4 minutes depending if they are very small or very big.

5. Remove and drain and refresh in ice cold water. Dress with best olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt.

6. To serve, spoon risotto into bowl and spoon broad beans over the top of the risotto and eat immediately. I recommend lots of freshly cracked black pepper.


December 18, 2013 · 5:56 PM

The fragrance of home


I bought this beautiful mimosa and mandarin soy fragrant candle today. It got me thinking about the little things that make my home special; fragrance, food, wine friends and music. I know I gain a renewed sense of wellbeing when I throw open the windows and let fresh air in. Clean laundered crisp, cotton white sheets blown through with the wind and sunshine. Fresh from the oven baking, cooling on the bench until its time for friendship & afternoon tea. Slow, slow cooking on the stove with the assuring smell of comfort that dinner is under control. Light, open the curtains, I am blessed my little kitchen is positioned to soak up the last of the days rays. Views, if you aren’t ready to invest in art – buy flowers. Vitality in a jug, what a visual feast and pleasure they are, the star of the show in even the dullest of space.  And if you missed the florist, cheat like me and spray some lavender water or diluted essential oils around. It instantly erases yesterday and create a clean and fresh smelling room.  Music, sing, dance, tv -no way, no ads, no radio, yes to jazz, world music, nostalgic old school music – I love this. I love creating an atmosphere of relaxation and pleasure. Good food, call up some friends, what its Monday? excellent. Have a dinner party, don’t save anything for a special occasion, open that special bottle of wine today, celebrate, what’s the occasion?. Its Monday, Monday is the occasion, Dress up! dress for life. Put on some bright lipstick, a sequins dress and heels. The silver, the crystal, the fine china (who has fine china these days?). Open all the windows, air the house, light a candle, arrange some flowers, prepare something delicious to eat, open the wine, invite some friends, dress up – be special. Turn the tv off, play the guitar/ukulele/piano/bongo drum. Ok you don’t know how, invite someone who does? I am sure my friend Jill will come and play the ukulele for you. Breathe in the good fragrance of home…a holiday…exotic destination?. No. home is wonderful. Play, eat, drink, dance, sing until you fall into those fresh sheets. Home is very satisfying.


October 12, 2013 · 7:31 PM

Be fit, Be healthy green spaghetti

A good balanced lunch always sets me up for the afternoon and helps avoid a four pm energy dip. I have recently discovered this lovely brand of Italian organic whole meal dried only takes 7 minutes to cook. It makes a good base to add pesto, seeds, nuts, cheeses, perhaps a poached egg for protein and vegetables too. Whatever is in your fridge. The whole meal pasta has a nutty flavour. I always feel good adding more fibre to my diet.

Ingredients serves 1 person

75grams spaghetti
75 grams Pumpkin chopped into 1cm cubes or smaller
35 grams feta cheese
X1 Tablespoon basil pesto
Large handful baby rocket chopped
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Extra Virgin olive oil

1:bring a pot of well salted water to the boil, cook pumpkin with pasta until al dente, drain (retain a few tablespoons of the water) and return to the pot with the few tablespoons of water.
2: add the rest of the ingredients and toss with extra virgin olive oil and cracked pepper.
3: serve. This would be good at room temperature also.


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July 30, 2013 · 12:31 PM

Seafood French bounty


Fresh shellfish, salmon and fish from my local fish market is such a lovely treat.

I have been cooking from a new cookbook la cigale, which is a collection of French classic recipes from owner Elizabeth Lind who pioneered the French market and bistro in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. The recipe for a French style seafood cream bound chowder caught my eye. It is French style with the mussels initially cooked in apple cider. This forms the basis for the stock which you add to the celery, shallot, carrot roux. My four hungry Man guests were silent as they started the meal. I accept this as a nod of approval when there is silence. Tonight I have the seven hour lamb leg due to be ready any minute, again from the same book. I have been re-enthused for some decadent French cooking. Pork terrine is next on my wish list.



July 6, 2013 · 4:46 PM

French Kitchen

Akaroa April 2013 220Akaroa April 2013 217
I have just returned from a relaxing weekend visit to Akaroa, New Zealand. Akaroa is a picturesque seaside, historic French/British settlement; set in an ancient volcanic area 75km from Christchurch, New Zealand. I was so looking forward to staying at Fleur cottage on Rue Jolie, it did not disappoint. This historic 1870’s two storey cottage has been romantically restored. The owner Valerie has a wonderfully creative eye and the overall sensitive renovation has managed to retain a nonchalance which is in keeping with the relaxed spirit of Akaroa. The cottage is very chic, very frenchy!; for two days I was able to dream I was really in Provence. I love garden design and interiors magazines and this was like stepping inside one.Image

The garden was lush, green and a bit bohemian, a canopy of six trees covered the outdoor table for intimate outdoor dining. Apparently the owners of Fleur cottage had hung bags of bricks on the branches as they grew to weigh the branches down so they grew outwards. The garden had a magical sense, it could easily be a set for A Midsummers night dream.

I adore the old worlde sage green that Fleurs kitchen is painted. I loved looking in the cupboards and discovering treasures; a groovy vintage Kenwood stand mixer and eclectic china. This is one of those little kitchens that is soooo inviting; Tiny & cosy with a real big Baltic pine turned leg dining table. We hung out round the table, drinking and eating, writing and reading, talking and laughing. The chairs were painted a delicious sorbet lemon colour. This overall interior effect was good enough to eat.

Once we ate (seafood pie bound in white wine cream sauce) and drunk too much <em>(Syrah and Chardonay) we retired to the lounge and sunk into one of the comfortable, french linen, shabby chic couches, dimmed the lights and enjoyed the wonderful home that is Fleurs cottage.
Ces’t la vie !
Bonnie x

To view or book see link


Filed under cooking, food, home cooking, Interior design, Interiors, travel

For the love of dill

A week ago I was craving the herb dill. My modest herb garden at home supplies me with my usual kitchen staples; flat leaf parsley, coriander, thyme, mint, sage and rosemary. However dill is one thing I do not currently grow. I managed to buy some from my farmers market and made some lovely meals infused with the fresh uplifting aniseed taste, fennel fragrance of this under used herb. Its appearance is wiry thread like leaves which look so pretty sprinkled or stirred through a dish. I have been cooking up  a storm from cook book writer Diana Henry. This idea came from her book effortless cooking I have cooked about 15 recipes from this book in 3 weeks, I highly recommend it for a good variety of everyday recipes that are simple yet full of flavour.

Baked beets, Jersey bennys with onions, sour cream, dill & salmon

There are still bags of beetroot for sale at the farmers markets and it makes me feel virtuous to feed freshly roasted beetroot to my family especially as I am sure I am doing something special for my husbands poor liver after too much winter wine drinking. I had to share this recipe as it was very easy to put together and can be easily assembled and eaten at room temperature.

To make the beetroot you will need: 750 grams raw beetroot (try to get small ones if possible), 4 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and pepper, 2 red onions, 150 ml sour cream, 1 tbsp chopped dill.

1: Wrap the unpeeled beetroot in a foil parcel, drizzle with half the olive oil, season and put in a roasting tin. Cook in an oven preheated to 180 degrees until tender. (How long this takes depends on the size of your beetroot) – it could take as long as 1-2 hours. Put the onion wedges in a small roasting tin, drizzle with the rest of the olive oil, season and roast in the same oven for 20-30 minutes. The onions should be tender and slightly singed at the tips.

2:When the beetroot is tender, peel each one (or leave the skin on as I have in the picture above) and quart or half depending on their size. Season the beetroot and put on a serving dish with the onions. Daub the sour cream over the vegetables and sprinkle with the dill. Serve hot or at room temperature.

3: I boiled new small waxy potatoes for 15-20 minutes until tender and added a little butter to warm through them. To serve I placed the potatoes in wide shallow pasta bowls, spooned the beetroot & onions on top and placed some chunks of smoked salmon on top. Very Scandinavian!.

With a little fresh dill leftover I made a spring green risotto the next night with courgettes, asparagus and dill. This was lovely for a change to my usual risotto.

Spring green dill risotto


Filed under babies, cooking, fish, food, home cooking, potatoes, recipes