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The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...


Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...


Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...


Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....


My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...


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Shakshuka – the perfect weekend lunch

Posted on : 01-08-2016 | By : Cindy | In : Colourful taste, History of Food, My idiot-proof recipes, Spices, Uncategorized





Each time I sit down to write a few thousand words of my next novel I am transported to the Middle East and a world of exotic flavours – pyramids of fiery saffron and cumin, bunches of fragrant herbs, dusky green figs, succulent grapes and golden olive oil. Admittedly shakshuka would not have been around in first century Samaria – tomatoes did not find their way there until centuries later – but it is certainly a popular dish of the region nowadays.

It’s easy to make and is a gourmet alternative to eggs on toast. The thick, harissa laced tomato sauce adds a healthy boost of antioxidants and flavour. I love the fun of cracking eggs straight into their little nests in the sauce and the amazing colours once you sprinkle a little feta and parsley on at the end. Truly delicious!


1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red capsicum, finely chopped

1-2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 x 440g can tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sugar (enhances the tomato flavour but you can leave it out)

2 teaspoons ras al hanout (from Herbie’s Spices)

1/2 teaspoon harissa paste (or more if you like more heat)

1 teaspoon paprika (for the colour)

5 – 6 eggs

Feta cheese

Parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in large pan on moderate heat. Add onion, garlic, capsicum and celery. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring, until onion is clear. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Cook gently for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. make slight dents in sauce and break an egg into each one. Cover pan with lid and cook for a few minutes until eggs are done to your liking. Remove from heat. Sprinkle over feta cheese and parsley.

Easter Balsamic Lamb Salad with tomato, cucumber & mint!

Posted on : 06-04-2012 | By : Cindy | In : My idiot-proof recipes


Last night I marinated some lean lamb back straps in caramelized balsamic vinegar and orange juice, then pan-fried them and served them over rocket leaves accompanied by hummus, tomato, cucumber and mint salsa, and flat bread.

It was my attempt to honor the night before Good Friday when the Jewish people celebrate Passover.  Lamb, bitter greens (rocket), vinegar and flat bread (no yeast) are just some of the foods that remind the Jewish people of their miraculous escape from Egypt thousands of years ago.

It is also a significant meal for people who celebrate Easter because Jesus would have eaten similar foods as he celebrated Passover with his friends on the night before he was arrested and killed.

Religion aside, this Middle Eastern food combination is a lovely, relaxed way to start the Easter weekend.  Enjoy!


2 lamb back straps

Juice of 1 orange

1/2 cup caramelized balsamic vinegar (If you use plain balsamic, add 1 tablespoon brown sugar)

Katalin’s Beans

Posted on : 06-10-2011 | By : Cindy | In : My idiot-proof recipes


My good friend Katalin gave me this recipe for the most delicious way to cook dried beans. She uses black beans. So far I’ve tried it with haricot and black-eyed beans. It tastes great whichever beans you use.  I try to make a batch each week, especially at the moment when I can’t exercise and need to not over-eat. After a meal of these beans there is no room for chocolate! They taste lovely with a dollop of plain yoghurt or raita (yoghurt, cucumber and mint). I also eat them with steamed vegetables followed by fruit for a simple nutritious meal.

Katalin’s Beans

  • 1 large cup dried beans
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green capsisum, chopped finely
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped finely
  • 2-3 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I use red wine vinegar)

Soak beans in plenty of water overnight.

Heat a little olive oil in a large fry-pan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes then add celery and capsicums. Cook 5-6 minutes until softened. Drain beans and add to fry-pan. Pour in enough stock to cover. Cover and simmer on low for 1-2 hours, adding more stock or water when necessary. The beans should end up quite saucy. Once cooked add cumin, vinegar and salt to taste.


Walnut & fig rye bread

Posted on : 26-05-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Bread, My idiot-proof recipes


This is my favourite bread to make. It tastes delicious on its own and even better with a hard Parmesan or soft goats cheese.  This loaf which I made a few days ago was not quite up to standard because I used ordinary white flour from the supermarket. It’s much more authentic if you use top quality flour – usually from a health food shop.

This is my adapted version of a recipe by Patricia Wells from her book ‘At home in Provence‘. She has great recipes. You don’t need to use the exact amounts of the dried fruit and nuts – just whatever you prefer. You make the dough in the evening, then leave it overnight in the fridge.