Life: Spring has Sprung

Hello my lovelies! The weather has taken a turn for the warmer. My second go at getting new sage and oregano sprouted has been a success. I have a pile of rhubarb to devour. I’ve been roaming round ancient Egypt. And it’s Halloween tomorrow.

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Pan de Muerto

 Prep Time : 45 Minutes | Cook Time : 35 Minutes | Total Time : 5 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! I love Dia de Los Muertos. I find the aesthetic of it beautiful and interesting. The meaning of it is sweet and joyous. And I love the flavours of all things Mexican. So it was odd that I have never made Pan de Muerto before. Since it is my life’s work to make (and eat) all the breads in existence it’s time to correct this oversight. I took my cues from Fany Gerson and her fabulous book My Sweet Mexico. I pared down the recipe to make it more manageable at home. Pan de Muerto is a sweet enriched bread with a lot of eggs and butter. Brioche style. It’s flavoured with orange and orange blossom and decorated with bones fashioned from the dough. Pan de Muerto is made to honour those who are no longer with us. What a delicious way to remember them. This is best made using a mixer with a dough hook as the dough is very soft and sticky. Orange blossom can be seem very overwhelming but trust me (and Fany) it is balanced by the orange zest and is much milder once baked. The final bread is buttery and soft with the perfect note of fruit and floral. Utterly delicious. You will need about 30 minutes to get all the initial bits done before the dough is left to rise.

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Boo My Valentine

 Prep Time : 10 + 30 Minutes | Cook Time : 12 Minutes | Total Time : 2 hours | Difficulty : Fiddly

Hello my lovelies! Halloween is just around the corner. It’s not as big a deal here in NZ. But it’s still fun to get in on the action. Especially if there are puns involved. This year we are taking a turn for the sweet rather than the scary. Borrowing from one holiday to improve another. Taking candy hearts to a new level. This black shortbread is delicious and simple to make. The dough can be hard to work when it’s cold so be patient and let it come back to room temp if you need to. The devil is in the details. I made these cookies using a fabulous cookie stamp set that I bought on Ebay. You can also get them on Amazon. It’s perfect for people who don’t love to pipe script. I got it originally to make sassy Christmas cookies. Which I will still do. If you get one of these be careful washing it so the letters don’t go down the drain. If piping is your jam then go for it! And quite frankly if you end up with a lot of black heart shaped cookies and have run out of time to pipe messages on them then make sandwich cookies with a red coloured filling – just give them a good squeeze to make sure they are bleeding sufficiently. These are a great size to use for trick-or-treaters as well as serving up to guests. Or sending to a loved one for a holiday appropriate giggle. The recipe comes from Thomas Keller and has been widely shared before because it is the best home-made oreo cookie around. To get black cocoa in NZ head to

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Yoghurt + Olive Oil Flatbreads

 Prep Time : 15 + 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 8 Minutes | Total Time : 2 hours | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! This recipe is one of those gems that comes about by accident. I had a friend coming for dinner and needed a flatbread. So I winged it. And it was awesome. An aligning of planets. I didn’t write it down at the time though. The next day I jotted down everything I could remember. I’m glad I did and you will be too. This is an easy yeast bread. I left the difficulty as easy on purpose. You need to be a bit gentle at the end but otherwise it’s all just magic. Flavour these how you like. I love chopped tarragon and parsley in the dough. Cracked pepper, sesame seeds, za’atar, whatever takes your fancy. Brush the hot breads with oil infused with garlic. Butter mixed with wholegrain mustard. Sprinkle with more herbs or flaky sea salt. You will need the heaviest baking sheet, pizza stone or griddle you have. My absolute recommendation is one of this kind of cast iron griddle with the grill on one side and a flat surface on the other. I use it for all sorts of breads and to bake pizza on. It gives the best results of everything I’ve tried. These flatbreads only need one rise so they’re quicker than you think. Serve them as part of a meal or as a appetizer with a dip or two. They’re also a great snack on their own.

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Rugelach Two Ways

 Prep Time : 10 + 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 2 hours | Difficulty : Not Bad

Hello my lovelies! I was gifted a copy of Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh over the weekend. So naturally I had to bake something straight away. I started simple-ish with the rugelach. I’ve been a bit intrigued for a while but didn’t realise JUST HOW GOOD THEY ARE. So flaky and delicate and jammy and crunchy. The original recipe has quince paste which I do have on hand. My parents make it. But I had to give them my own twist. Or two. We’re doing two sets of flavours. neither are traditional for rugelach. But they’re great combos all the same. Raspberry and Almond. Tahini, Ginger + Lemon. Because I used the same batch of dough to make both flavours I kept it simple. Just as Yotam says to make it. These seem fiddly but they’re actually much easier than they look. The dough comes together in the food processor. Rolled out into circles and spread with fillings. Cut up like a pie and rolled up. Fabulous. I haven’t added a lot of sweetness to the fillings. Raspberry jam is plenty sweet enough to carry the almonds. There is a lot of sweetness in the crystallised ginger and peel. You can always dust the baked cookies with icing sugar if you need to.

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