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Winter Vegetable Gratin


The onset of winter doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. For me it means cosy nights by the fire, good books, and best of all…hearty family meals. Hutchinsons Dutch cheese range is my absolute favorite to incorporate into winter warmers. The following gratin recipe is a great way to get lots of vegetables into the family, while cleverly hidden under velvety creamy sauce and delicious cheese. The buttery, nutty Maasdam goes perfectly with the cashew nut crumb, while the sweet mild Edam and smooth creamy Gouda add richness and depth.

Give it a go yourself, and buy Hutchinsons cheese from your local New World and Pak ‘n Save, and selected Countdown supermarkets.

Feeds 8

You’ll need-

32x22cm greased baking dish

1 Tbsp butter, to grease

3 cups of runny cream

1 cup grated Hutchinsons Gouda

1 cup grated Hutchinsons Maasdam

1 cup grated Hutchinsons Edam

(reserve 1/3 of each cheese for the topping)

200g of chopped or roughly  blended raw cashews

3 garlic cloves, minced

600g potatoes, peeled and sliced

300g carrots, peeled and sliced

150g cauliflower, sliced

150g broccoli, sliced

2 sprigs of thyme or rosemary and a bay leaf

2 tbsp, diced Italian parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius bake. Use 1 tbsp butter to grease your oven dish.

Clean and evenly slice your potatoes and carrots. A mandolin makes this super easy! Trim your cauli and broccoli stalks and slice evenly.

Pop the cream into a saucepan along with your chosen herbs, bay leaf, crushed garlic and bring to a gentle boil. Turn to low, add the carrots and cook for 4 minutes. Discard the thyme and bay leaf and stir through 2/3 of each of the Hutchinsons cheeses. Whisk well to incorporate fully. Leave to cool for a few minutes and season to taste.

Arrange a third of the potatoes, overlapping in the base of the pan, season  and scatter over half the cauli and broccoli. Pour over a third of your creamy cheese and carrot sauce. Repeat this step, finishing with potatoes and pour over any remaining sauce. Cover the dish tightly with tinfoil. Cook for a good hour, until nicely reduced and bubbling.

While it’s cooking, gently crush your raw cashews and mix with the leftover grated cheese. Taking your gratin from the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle over the cashew crumb. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until beautifully golden.

Serve hot with a winter roast or fresh crusty bread.

Amber xx

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The guacamole and hummus love child – Guacahummus

Healthy food can be expensive, which can be one of the biggest reasons why we often never purchase it, using this excuse to avoid it completely. It’s a sad truth that some convenience foods are cheap and easy and this is what is causing huge health problems in NZ with obesity and obesity related illnesses.

Those that do seek healthy alternatives often have to shop at several different places to find what they are looking for, which can be time consuming.

Countdown now offers a wide variety of healthy options all available under one roof in their Macro and Free-From range and what’s even better is that a lot of products in this range have now moved to Price Lockdown which means they’re really affordable.

Healthy recipes can now be quick, easy and affordable! Below we’ve used the Macro Organic Hulled Tahini for a delicious new recipe. If Guacamole and hummus had a baby, this would be the love child.



1x 330g can chickpeas, drained

1x garlic clove

3 tbsp. Macro Organic Hulled Tahini

1x limes juice

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2x avocado

Salt & pepper


Place all ingredients in a kitchen whizz and blend until smooth. Add more olive oil if too thick.

Serve in a bowl and enjoy it with some Macro Organic Gluten Free Corn Chips that have also been added to price lockdown and are only $3…always! You too can lead an affordable healthy lifestyle.

#lovecountdown #pricelockdown #macro #organic #tahini #collab #sponsored


Nuttvia – the ONLY hazelnut spread you should buy!

An exciting new product has hit the market and I’m proud to be working with them in helping to promote the benefits of this tasty new hazelnut spread.

Nuttvia ( has brought out a delicious choccy spread which contains 97% less sugar than other leading brands, it is palm oil free and has been certified with the Orangutan Alliance No Palm Oil Seal.

While other spreads can contain up to 52% sugar, Nuttvia Hazelnut Spread contains only 1.7%, sweetened with Natvia, the 100% natural sweetener. Nuttvia is the only hazelnut spread in the world with a 5 star health rating.

Growing up on special occasions I was allowed to have hazelnut spread on my toast and I absolutely loved it. However back then I was unaware it contained palm oil and the damages that deriving Palm oil causes on both forests and the animals including Orangutans and the Sumatran Tigers inhabiting those forests.

So here are some quick facts about Palm Oil:

  1. Palmoil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp of the fruit of the oil palms.
  1. Palm oil is extremely high in Saturated fat. One tablespoon of this oil contains 55% of your recommended daily intake of saturated fat.
  1. Up to 300 football fields of  forest are cleared every HOUR to make room for palm plantations
  1. In the past 10 years, the orangutan population has decreased by 50% as the result of habitat loss from forest clearing for palm plantations.

I hope you will enjoy this new product as much as I do. So with a new understanding and awareness of the damages Palm oil does to our environment. I hope you get behind the Orangutan Alliance ( in saying NO to products with Palm oil.

I absolutely love to eat hazelnut spread on toast but here are some other quick & Healthy snack options.

  • Rice cakes with Nuttvia spread and sliced banana.
  • Banana & Nuttvia Sushi – heat a soft wrap in microwave for 20 seconds, spread with Nuttvia then wrap a whole banana in it. Cut into small sushi slices.
  • Nuttvia Paddle Pops – combine 1/2 cup Nuttvia and 1 1/2 cups milk in a food processor and combine. Pour into 6 popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours.

So, get out there and purchase this new absolutely awesome hazelnut spread knowing that it’s very low in sugar, has ZERO palm oil, ticks all the boxes for the environment and still tastes absolutely delicious.

Available at New World & Pak n Save.

Daisy xx

@nuttvia #nuttvia #spreadgood #palmoilfree #collab


Escape to Fiji

I had never been to Fiji, which surprises a lot of people as I have been half way around the world. I always wanted to go but never minded too much as I had always heard it was such a great place to take kids, and boy was it ever. With the same time zones, only a 3 hour flight and the most lovely nanny to look after Arlo, Fiji became my ultimate dream holiday with a baby.

Through we booked a gorgeous 1 bedroom villa at Hilton in Denarau in which you share a private pool with 3 other villas. At first I thought this would be a bit strange with randoms but I barely saw the other guests and when they came for a swim there was plenty of room for everyone. The room and the facilities were beautiful and the staff were always welcoming and accomodating – they even made me a Kokoda (raw fish ceviche) one night and it wasn’t even on the menu. 


The “nanny” idea was hard to get used to for me but it gave me such a great refresh. I live in Christchurch with zero family members and with Izzy away all the time it’s Arly and I 99.9% of the time. We had a nanny come in everyday from 12-5pm. She stayed by us all the time and we still took Arlo for swims in the pool etc but when he slept she took him on lovely walks in the pram or took him to the room for a cool down in the air conditioning. This gave Iz and I a chance to relax and I even got to read a little bit of of a book, which is something I haven’t done for 5 months. Anyway each to their own with this, but for me – it gave me a refresh and some “me time”. 


Whether you are looking into booking a holiday, business trip or just a nights stay in a different city book through It is simple, fast and efficient. The website tells you the pricing, whether it’s refundable and shows your great pictures of all the room types. There’s no hidden doors or small print and it’s super easy to book and nearly always the cheapest option. 

If you follow this link and book through you will receive $40 off your booking! So go get booking your next holiday through as “to travel is to live.” 


From Farm to Fridge – Kapiti’s New Single Farm Organic Milk

New Zealanders are increasingly interested in discovering where their food comes from and the process it takes. There is a growing concern about caged animals and unnatural/chemical processes occurring in our food. We want to know that animals are being treated right and we want to know that our food is as natural as possible. I was brought up on a farm and I am also a huge animal lover so knowing exactly where my food is sourced is hugely important to me. Kapiti are aware of this and have launched an organic milk, traceable back to a single  farm.


This basically means that we can trace the milk straight back to the Flipp family farm in Oroua Downs, Manawatu. The Flipp family are passionate about organic farming with four generations living on the farm and have proudly established Organic Certification, which took three years to achieve! They have 600 beautiful Fresian cows (the black and white ones).

Since I was very little I have absolutely loved drinking milk on its own and the Kapiti Single Farm Organic milk is absolutely devine. Its thick and creamy and you have full peace of mind knowing what you are drinking and exactly where it comes from. If the taste of milk isn’t for you then it’s also amazing in baking. Check out this link (insert link) to see my scrumptious Best Banana Cake Ever Recipe on our Facebook page using Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk.

Kapiti are hugely passionate about the pleasures and principles of good food and we all know how glorious Kapiti cheese and ice-cream is. Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk is another fantastic product and is available from supermarkets nationwide.

Kapiti Single Farm Organic is available in two sizes:
•        1.25L Homogenised/ Non Homogenised RRP $5.49
•        750ml Homogenised/ Non Homogenised RRP $3.50

Best banana cake ever

Check out this recipe using Kapiti’s new Single Farm Organic Milk. This milk can be traced back to one farm in Oroua Downs, Manawatu and is thick, creamy and delicious! It is available from supermarkets nationwide and you can have the peace of mind knowing exactly where this milk comes from! Head to this link to read the full story on our blog (insert Link

Banana cake with chocolate icing is my absolute favourite cake. I have tried many different recipes, and combined the best parts of some of the yummiest cakes I have eaten to create the Best Banana Cake Ever! It is easiest if you have a stand mixer for this recipe, but a whisk and a spoon work just as well.


Preparation Time: 10 minutes • Cooking Time: 50 minutes (plus 1–2 hours to cool) • Serves 8+


1 cup caster sugar

2 free range eggs

150g butter, melted

4 large bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup hot Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk (homogenised)

150ml plain unsweetened yoghurt

2½ cups self-raising flour

Chocolate icing

1½ cups icing sugar

50g butter, melted

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons hot water

2 teaspoons vanilla essence


Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease a 20cm high-sided spring-form cake tin with oil or butter and line bottom with baking paper.

Beat the eggs, sugar and melted butter in a small mixing bowl and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Put the mixer on low speed and add in the banana, baking soda, hot milk and yoghurt. Add the flour and leave to mix for a minute or so, until combined thoroughly.

Pour cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45–50 minutes or until the cake springs back when you touch it or the sides are pulling away from the edges. When cake is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place in fridge for 1–2 hours.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the icing. In a bowl, mix together the icing sugar, butter, cocoa, hot water and vanilla essence until all ingredients are well combined. Place icing in the fridge to cool for 15 minutes.

When the cake has cooled, spread the icing evenly over the top. Either serve this beauty up for morning tea with a fresh glass of Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk or add some fresh cream to it for a delicious pudding.

xxx Daisy

Check out my Facebook post here


Countown Challenge – Money or the Bag

Recently I teamed up with Countdown to do a fun challenge called “money or the bag.” Basically, a bag of ingredients arrived on my doorstep along with a countdown voucher and I could either choose to make something with the bag contents or use the voucher to choose my own ingredients to whip up a new recipe. The bag contents contained some amazing Global Cuisine products to make a butter chicken. As much as I absolutely love butter chicken I thought I would take the voucher down to my local Countdown supermarket so I could create my own recipe for you guys.


Before we get into the recipe I made I thought I would share a few awesome things that Countdown does to help grocery shopping easier and less expensive. Everyday New Zealanders are often busy trying to manage jobs whilst also juggling the responsibilities of feeding their families and budgeting. Firstly one of my absolute favourite things is they have a basket of fruit as you walk in for the kiddies to help themselves to. This is such great way to keep the wee ones entertained for 5 minutes so they don’t try to sneak every packet of chips, lollies or chocolate into your trolley or basket.


Hi Another great thing about Countdown is their “Eating Well for Less” campaign including Price Lock Down where the food or produce stays at the same price and Low Prices Everyday. There are over 3000 of these red price labels across the Countdown stores making good quality food easily affordable. I also love the “Feed four for $15” recipe cards they have on a stand in the Countdown Stores. By doing this you can grab a few cards, whip round the supermarket and grab the ingredients and head home to make a recipe for the family that is easily accessible and affordable.


During my trip around Countdown I decided to grab some ingredients to make Panko Crumbed Chicken Brioche Burgers. These are a nice and healthy burger option and with the crispy chicken, they are super tasty. One of the star ingredients of this recipe is the Global Cuisine Burger Sauce. This sauce is the be all end all of burger sauces and tastes very similar to the McDonalds Big Mac Sauce. It’s a must try and an absolute winner so if you have never had it, just trust me on this one. The burger was nice and easy to make and turned out a success. 


Some friends came over and the burgers were enjoyed by all. You can find the recipe for these burgers on our facebook page and for any additional information on Countdowns great offers head to

 Daisy xxx


My Online Shopping Delivery Tips

Have you ever really needed a parcel delivered and come home after work to find you missed the delivery and there’s a Card to Call on your doorstep? It is one of my absolute pet hates, so when I saw NZ Post had come up with some new delivery options for parcels or courier packages, I had to investigate.


Izzy and I recently celebrated our 12-year anniversary – we had our first date on March 18th at Horse of the Year in Hawkes Bay in 2005.  It involved lots of dancing and our first kiss! Anyway, Izzy wanted to organize a date night to celebrate, so told me we were going to a fancy restaurant in Christchurch that I had never been to. Of course my head went into a spin about what on earth I was going to wear. My wardrobe at the moment, after just having my baby, is pretty much trackies and active wear so I had to go online to find something half decent. As for Izzy I just wanted to find him a nice present for our anniversary.


So I ordered myself a lovely dress from Country Road and Iz a nice top and some jeans from Superette. The anniversary dinner was only a few days away so I wasn’t going to risk coming home on the day of the dinner to find a Card to Call on my doorstep. I went to where I was offered three different delivery options to get my parcels on time: Parcel Leave, Parcel Collect and Parcel Redirect.


For Izzy’s parcel I opted for Parcel Leave, which gives the courier driver permission to leave the parcel somewhere specific on your property without you having to sign for it. All I needed to do was head to the NZ Post website, type my tracking number in, follow the instructions and told them where I’d like my parcel left. I opted for behind my pot plant on the front doorstep but you can opt for anywhere safe and easy!

For my second parcel, my outfit from Country Road, I wanted to try out the Parcel Collect option as I have a Countdown just down the road from my house. I’m constantly at the supermarket so I thought this was highly convenient and fits perfectly around my daily routine. With Parcel Collect you can arrange to have your parcel delivered to one of 180 Parcel Collect locations around NZ. These include participating supermarkets, petrol stations, and NZ Post retailers. Basically, you just sign up for a (free) NZ Post account and when entering your checkout address you just enter the address of the Parcel Collect location, instead of your own address. NZ Post will then send you an email notification when your parcel has arrived at your desired collection point and you head on down to pick it up (they give you ten days)!


Thankfully both items arrived on time and at their right locations, Iz and I were able to enjoy a lovely date night out at 27 Steps in Christchurch. Thanks to NZ Post and their new delivery options, I didn’t have to wear track pants out to a fine dining restaurant and we had a thoroughly enjoyable anniversary evening!

For more information check out

Daisy Dagg

Sponsored by NZ Post


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1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Banana Bread

Caramelised Banana Bread

This tasty loaf is lined with sliced bananas to give it that extra intense flavour and a rustic appearance. Leave them out if you want a more traditional bread.

Preparation time: 10 minutes • Cooking time: 50 minutes • Makes 1 large loaf

2 firm bananas

Dusting of ground cinnamon

2 ripe bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

150g butter (at room temperature)

1 cup firmly packed soft brown sugar

2 free-range eggs

1½ cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅓ cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23 x 12cm loaf tin with baking paper.

Slice the firm bananas into very thin slices lengthways. Carefully press the slices into the base and along the sides of the tin until the tin is completely covered. Dust with a little cinnamon and leave in the fridge to cool. Mash the ripe bananas in a bowl and mix with the vanilla essence. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute until softened. Slowly add the sugar and beat for a further 1–2 minutes.

Turn the mixer off and transfer the batter to a bowl. Using a large spoon, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.

Gently mix in the mashed bananas.

Sieve the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together and fold into the wet mix with the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the loaf tin until two-thirds full. Bake for 1 hour. The outer bananas will caramelise to a dark colour, so check the centre with a skewer to make sure it is cooked. Remove the loaf from the tin and cool on a rack in the baking paper.