Tag Archives: breakfast

Right time, right place – out of the rubbble of Christchurch

In my opinion if not one of the most exciting and progressive things that has happened to Christchurch since the February earthquake has been
the opening of the Cassels & Sons Brewery & Cafe at the Tannery Woolston http://casselsbrewery.co.nz

This new start venture reads like one of those classic kiwi business ventures, father and sons home brew beer over a unique wood fire in the back
yard and over a beer decide let’s start a boutique brewery. After a few setbacks and two major earthquakes which nearly decimate there business with vision they decide to push forward and rapidly expand the brewery into a prime restaurant, cafe, bar & entertainment music venue.

With the choice of the crème  de la crème of the Christchurch hospitality staff out of work they recruit them all, Barista Tonto from ex Vivace Cafe fame, chefs, bakers, front of house  staff.

We are now utterly spoilt for a premium destination for most importantly  boutique beers, wood fired pizzas, rustic food, sumptuous cabinet food that  would not be out of place in any international city. I adore this place, it  opens seriously early in time for all day breakfasts (try the chilli baked beans on hot buttered toast), serves up lunch, affordable cabinet food by a  clever mother and son kitchen team. The salads are vibrant and piled high on  platters, think Otto Lenghi style http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/.

 The Dinner menu is thoughtfully written, wood fired pizzas inspired by local place  names, how tempting does Horotane Pear, Blue Cheese, Thyme & Smokey Bacon  wood fired pizza sound?. Check out the website for a line up of entertainment in the form of live music acts, this is bound to fill the void  for  entertainment deprived locals that the loss of CBD has left. This is what a  true local food & drink place should be like; children are welcome with  highchairs and a big old cane basket full of wooden toys and books. I get the innate sense that this is just the beginning for the Cassels and this Brewery/Bar/Cafe/Restaurant/Entertainment venue is filling the gap perfectly and will be here for a long time to come….in fact it feels as if it has always been.



Filed under breakfast, cafes, earthquake, food, travel

Coriander and mint cold curry

I am a huge fan of Ray Mc Vinnie and his take on classic recipes. Sunday’s highlight is reading the Sunday Star Times Ray McVinnie food section for two recipes he supplies each week. I was excited when I saw the picture of his Balinese coconut Chicken, my mouth was watering. I have never been to Bali and thought I was not familiar with this style of cooking. I liked the look of crisp tender green beans, simple sliced cucumber and a delectable looking roast chicken turned into a cold coconut curry with plain steamed rice.

Balinese/Indonesian/Malaysian style Cocunut Chicken

As I started to prepare the recipe I realised I had no Malaysian shrimp paste and that the recipe felt similar to a Lindsey Bareham recipe I had made from her book The Fish Store (Highly recommend this book). Lindseys recipe is called a Malaysian Chicken Rendang which her fore-word says is a famous curry eaten for breakfast in Malaysia. I fondly remember eating lots of curries for breakfast when I travelled through Nepal and India, the breakfast curry is strangley perfect in a hot climate.  This version originates in nearby Indonesia or Western Sumatra where it is made so hot and spicy it keeps at room temperature for a week. Lindsey and Ray’s versions are softened with plenty of coconut cream to stop your head blowing off!.

Malaysian/Indonesian Style coconut Chicken

(recipe adapted from Lindsey Bareham and Ray McVinnie)


  • 1 size 14 free-range chicken
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 Tbsp soy bean oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 150 ml cold water
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted desiccated coconut
  • 400ml thick coconut cream
  • 4 Tbsp chopped coriander
  • lime juice, to taste
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced; 200g green beans, stalk ends removed, blanched in boiling water for 4 minutes, cooled under cold water, well drained, mint or coriander leaves to garnish
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c. Cut down each side of the chicken’s back bone (I use kitchen scissors) and discard the back bone or keep to make chicken stock. Cut through the middle of the breast bone so the chicken is in two halves.
  2. Put the garlic in a roasting dish and place the chicken on top, skin side up. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of oil over the chicken and season well. Place in the oven for 1 hour until cooked through and browned.
  3. Place the finely chopped ginger, onion, red capsicum, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp ground
    coriander and  150 ml cold water in the bowl of a food processor and blitz till you have a smooth paste.
  4. Heat the oil in a wide hot pan or wok  and add the puree and cook for 15-20 minutes till it has darkened a bit and is fragrant.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and when cold enough to handle, take the crisp skin and meat of the bones and shred coarsely.
  6. Mix the chicken, toasted desiccated coconut, fresh coriander, coconut cream and bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes or until it is very  hot. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper so the mixture is pleasantly tart and well seasoned.
  7. Serve with steamed rice, sliced cucumber, green beans and mint leaves.


Filed under breakfast, cooking, food, home cooking, meat, recipes, travel

Baked scottish porridge

Baked scottish porridge with stewed fruit and natural creamy yoghurt

For days we have had severe weather warnings of an imminent polar blast weather event that was due to hit New Zealand. Winter wonderland has arrived and we awoke this morning to a wildly beautiful snow storm. last night in anticipation of a cold morning I was super organised and prepped a baking dish with my Scottish cut porridge oats, nuts, vanilla & cinnamon and left them covered on the bench. Once Lucia was awake we crept downstairs to her delight of the snow outside. I added the cream and milk and put it in the oven.

Ingredients  135g porridge oats, 75g roughly chopped hazelnuts (without skins) or pecans, 75g chopped figs or sultanas, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 650ml milk, 200ml cream.

To Serve Stewed fruit

Preheat the oven 150°/gas mark 2. Scatter the oats, nuts, dried fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt into a baking dish. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and toss it all together. Pour in the milk and cream and bake for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and put back in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve with Stewed fruit.

Serves 6

Picture of the Recipe from the book

The recipe came from my brand new Bill Granger cook book Bills Basics http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bills-Basics-Bill-Granger/dp/1844008436

I am in love with this book. If you have never cooked from a Bill Granger recipe then this is the book for you. If you have cooked a Bill Granger recipe and own one of his books. You can give them all away and replace them with this one book as it is a perfect refined collection of all Bills favourite recipes.

We visited BILLS cafe in Woolhara in Sydney a few years ago for coffee. He famous in Sydney for creating a breakfast cafe culture in the 1990’s. Bill now has a television cooking show, loads of cook books, a restaurant in Japan with rumour of one to open in London. I always have confidence that any recipe of Bills will turn out a dream. He taught me how to make perfect scrambled eggs after all. Get the book!.

By the way I have only just discovered AMAZON. I know took me awhile to realise what amazing value AMAZON is when it comes to buying cook books. I bought 3 cookbooks from AMAZON and got FREE DELIVERY to New Zealand and it only cost $58 kiwi dollars for all three books!. I still feel like I have stolen them at that price. To buy these books in New Zealand at the bookshop I would have paid at  least $60-85 per book!.


Filed under breakfast, cafes, cooking, food, recipes

Worthy of praise Baghdad eggs. spiced lentils. tomato kasundi

I managed to escape from the aftermath of Christchurch third major shakes June 13th 5.7 and 6.3 Magnitude earthquakes for the heady, cosmopolitan pleasure of an undamaged city – Auckland, New Zealand.  Thank goodness for a breather from the constant aftershocks I have been experiencing. Armed with a current Entertainment dining discount book I used it as my guide to search out a cafe which I could experience a stand out great breakfast. Most breakfast brunch menus bore me to tears, most cafes stick to the same formula, eggs Benedict, big breakfast, french toast, predictable, safe, yawn, yawn. So I was excited when I turned up to Urban Cafe on Carlton Gore Rd, Newmarket, Auckland at 9am this morning. Firstly it was very busy with plenty of good Auckland people watching – corporate types and fashionistas sipping lattes, deep in conversation on a superb sun spilled  patio. I love it when I see plenty of fresh baking – caramel, cinnamon, raison brioche, perfect bakewell slice, red velvet cupcakes. My early morning sweet tooth was bound to be satisfied. I started off with a round of coffees for my group and yes my sweet tooth insisted on a sneaky cinnamon brioche shared with our coffees while we pondered and tried to decide what to order from a very good menu. Baghdad eggs with spiced lentils and a tomato kasundi served with more than enough turkish bread beckoned me. The dish was served piping hot in a small cast iron pan with three soft poached eggs set amongst brown lentils, not unlike a frittata. Garnished with a generous handful of fresh coriander which infused the dish. Bagdad eggs were Perfect. I can not wait to try making this dish at home.



  • Food 9/10
  • Coffee 10/10
  • Atmosphere 8/10
  • Toddler/child friendly 8/5

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Filed under babies, cafes, cake, cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, organic, photography, recipes, travel

The nicest blueberry & lemon pancakes

This is the secret to fluffy, delicious, speedy pancakes for breakfast….Buttermilk and my food processor. occasionally I will get really organised and buy some buttermilk, blueberries and most importantly make sure I have plenty of REAL maple syrup. Lucia absolutely devours these sweet pancakes down more like she is inhaling her food rather than eating it. Then comes “more Mummy – MORE”! her new favourite sentence when she really approves of whats on her plate. Like all really good recipes this one came surprisingly via the recipe on the side of the Tarurua Buttermilk container!. I am doing what all good friends do passing this recipe on to all my good friends.

Lemon and Blueberry Pancakes

1 Cup self-raising flour

1 Cup cultured buttermilk

2 eggs (Imperative – Really big fresh free range eggs, do not dare use anything else if you want perfection)

2 TBSP sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

grated rind of 1/2 lemon

3 tbsp melted butter

1 cup blueberries


  1. Blend all ingredients together with the exception of the butter and blueberries, to form a smooth batter. Now add the blueberries and melted butter. I do all of this in my food processor.
  2. Lightly grease a frypan and add enough mixture to cover the pan or to the size you desire.
  3. Cook on a medium heat. When bubbles form, turn the pancake over and cook the other side.
  4. I like to serve these with sliced banana, maple syrup, softly whipped cream or a dollop of creamy natural yoghurt with a sprinkling of icing sugar. 

These are so good. When I made these yesterday I experimented and roughly blended the berries in with the batter which gave the batter a lovely purple colour!. Both ways are lovely but I think by adding the blueberries to the batter after you have a smooth batter and keeping the berries intact makes a  prettier and photogenic pancake. This is my kind of early morning recipe when you are still sleepy-eyed and want to make breakfast/brunch to impress.



Filed under babies, cooking, earthquake, food, home cooking, organic, photography, recipes