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1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Banana Muffins

Banana & Chocolate Drop Muffins

These are Izzy’s all-time favourite muffins. Sometimes he even heats a couple up in the microwave and adds cream for a yummy pudding. You can use chocolate chips, but I like to use chocolate drops as they hold their shape and don’t melt, giving you that extra burst of chocolaty goodness.

Preparation time: 10 minutes • Cooking time: 15 minutes • Makes 12

2½ cups self-raising flour

1 cup caster sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup dark chocolate baking drops (or chocolate chips)

50g butter

2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

3 large bananas, mashed


Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 12-hole muffin tray with butter or oil.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt and chocolate drops.

Melt the butter in a pot or microwave. Add the egg, milk and vanilla essence and stir.

Make a hole in the dry ingredients and slowly pour in wet mixture. Mix together but not completely, as this will make the mixture too runny. Add mashed banana and fold together.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray until each hole is three-quarters full. Bake for about 14 minutes. Remember: all ovens are different, so check the muffins and remove from the oven when lightly browned on top and when they spring back when pressed gently with your finger.

Leave to cool on a rack for a few minutes, then cut in half and add a sliver of butter while still hot, or heat a couple up in the microwave and add some cream for a scrummy pudding.

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Afghans


These crunchy chocolate treats are Victor’s favourites! Often requested for afternoon tea, the rich icing makes them especially decadent.

Preparation time: 10 minutes • Cooking time: 15–18 minutes • Makes 12 large cookies

350g room-temperature butter, cubed

1 cup caster sugar

½ cup cocoa

2½ cups plain flour

3 cups cornflakes

¼ cup chopped walnuts

Chocolate ganache

1 cup cream

400g dark chocolate melts

¼ cup whole walnuts


Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Whip the butter in a mixer for 30 seconds until smooth, scraping down the sides. Gradually add the sugar until the mixture has doubled in size and is a light creamy yellow colour. (If the butter is too soft and the mixture is liquid, start again. It will cause the cookies to spread and be crispy.)

Sift the cocoa and flour, add to the butter mixture along with the cornflakes and chopped walnuts and mix briefly to combine.

Using a spoon, or your hands, press the mixture into round discs and place on the lined baking tray. Bake for 15–18 minutes.

(They will still feel soft but will firm up as they cool, so be careful not to over-bake.)

While the afghans are baking, make the ganache. Heat the cream in a small pot over low to medium heat until almost boiling (bubbles will form at the edges) and then take off the heat. Add the chocolate. Let it sit for 1–2 minutes before beating together.

Keep beating until glossy. Let it cool in the fridge for about 10 minutes before icing the biscuits.

Once the afghans have cooled, take the icing out of the fridge and stir well, before generously dolloping onto the biscuits.

Garnish with a walnut on top and serve with a cuppa!

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding with Berries & Pistachio Nuts

My dad always cooked us rice pudding when we were growing up. He did a microwave version, but this recipe is made in a rice cooker. (Rice cookers make life so much easier!) This is a great pudding with very simple ingredients. It’s one of those ‘oh no I have last-minute guests coming over and don’t know what to make’ kinds of pudding, as most of the ingredients should be in your pantry already.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes • Cooking Time: 25 minutes • Serves 4

1 cup rice

2½ cups water

400ml can coconut cream

1 cup cream

½ cup white sugar

2 bananas, sliced

½ cup raspberries

½ cup blueberries

¼ cup pistachio nuts, chopped

Place the rice and water in a rice cooker and cook for a full cycle. (It usually takes about 15 minutes until the rice is completely cooked.)

Add the coconut cream, ½ cup of cream and sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring often to stop the rice sticking to the bottom of the rice cooker. (After 10 minutes the pudding should be creamy and thick.)

Place a big scoop of rice pudding in each of four serving bowls and pour a little of the remaining cream over the top. Garnish with banana slices, berries and pistachio nuts.

Serve hot for dessert or place in a small container for kids’ lunchboxes.

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Mini Cheesecakes

Mini White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecakes

Baked in the New York style, these little beauties are great for a small after-dinner treat. The raspberry coulis cuts nicely through the sweetness, while the Krispie biscuit base adds a yummy coconut flavour.

Preparation time: 20 minutes • Cooking time: 15–20 minutes • Makes 12 mini cheesecakes


¾ of a 250g packet of Krispie biscuits

100g butter, melted


120g white chocolate, chopped

375g traditional cream cheese, at room temperature

⅓ cup white sugar

1 tablespoon cornflour, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 free-range eggs, at room temperature

1 cup raspberries


½ cup caster sugar

3 tablespoons water

1½ cups raspberries

1 teaspoon framboise or rose petal syrup (optional)

Zest of 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 190°C and place paper liners in a 12-hole mini muffin or muffin tray (or two 6-hole tins).

Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz until finely crumbed. Transfer biscuit crumbs to a bowl, add the butter and massage in with your fingers. Divide the biscuit mix evenly between the 12 holes of the muffin tray. Push the crumbs into the base of each hole with your fingers and compress well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Melt half of the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water on the stovetop (or in the microwave). Cool for a few minutes. Whip the cream cheese in a mixer with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until combined and fold in the cornflour. Stir in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, folding in gently. Stir in the melted chocolate. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate and a few raspberries over the chilled bases and pour the filling mixture over the top.

Bake in the oven for 15–18 minutes or until the cheesecakes have risen. They may still be wobbly in the centre but will firm up once cool. Leave them to cool completely on a tray before refrigerating for 2 hours.

While the cheesecakes cool, make the coulis. Heat the sugar and water in a pot, over low to medium heat, for 3–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t let the mixture bubble or caramelise. The sugar should be completely dissolved and the liquid a syrupy consistency.

Place the raspberries and sugar syrup in a blender and blend until well puréed. Push the purée through a fine-mesh sieve, to remove any seeds. It can take a while, so be patient! Stir in the framboise or rose petal syrup (if using) along with the lemon zest.

Carefully peel off the paper and serve the cheesecakes with the coulis spooned onto the top and decorated with fresh berries.

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie

This recipe is an easy ‘cheat’ version if you don’t have time to make your own pastry and caramel from scratch. The combination of caramel, banana and cream is truly divine.

Preparation time: 20 minutes • Chill Time: 2+ hours • Serves 8


250g packet of digestive biscuits

4 tablespoons caster sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

120g butter, melted

Caramel Filling

100g butter

100g brown sugar

395g can sweetened condensed milk

4 bananas, sliced


500ml cream

2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 tablespoon Kahlúa

Milk chocolate, grated (or 1 large crumbled Flake bar)


Grease a 26cm loose-bottomed tart tin. To make the base, blend the biscuits, sugar and cocoa in a blender until it resembles very fine crumbs. Massage the melted butter into the crumb mixture. It should be pretty wet, so add more butter if it’s too crumbly. Using your fingers, push the mixture into the bottom and sides of the tin, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

To make the caramel filling, melt the butter and sugar in a pot over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and there is no longer a grainy texture, about 5 minutes. Add the condensed milk and increase the temperature until it boils. Stir vigorously for about 1 minute, then remove from the heat. (If any lumps have formed at the bottom, pour caramel through a sieve.)

Slice two of the bananas and fill the bottom of the tart with an overlapping layer. Pour the cooled caramel over the top, spreading into an even layer. Put the pie in the fridge for another hour to set.

Once set, gently remove the tart from the tin and transfer to a large serving plate. To make the topping, whip the cream gently with the icing sugar and vanilla essence. Be careful not to over-whip, the cream should be light and fluffy. Swirl through the Kahlúa.

To assemble, slice the remaining two bananas and push into the top of the caramel filling before spooning the topping into nice peaks on top of the tart. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Pizza


The lovely pizza dough recipe on page 186 comes direct from my dad Roland, who runs gluten-free bakery Dovedale Bread. While they’re not gluten free, they make for mighty fine pizzas. So have a go at making the pizza bases yourself or you can use shop-bought ones. Here are three of our favourite toppings . . .

Preparation time: 30 minutes • Cooking time: 30 minutes • Serves 6

Gambretti (chilli prawns)

400g raw prawns

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red chilli, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Pizza sauce

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 lemon, halved

Salt and pepper

Handful of baby rocket leaves


In a frying pan, sauté the prawns in olive oil and add the chilli and garlic, stirring until the prawns are mostly cooked through.

Spread pizza sauce on each pizza base, top with the prawns, Parmesan, and the juice from one lemon half, seasoning well, before cooking in a hot oven (about 230°C) for 12–15 minutes.

When the pizza is cooked, remove from the oven, garnish with a good handful of fresh rocket and top with the juice from the other lemon half and a drizzle of olive oil.

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Crispy skin salmon

Crispy Skin Salmon

Salmon is a household favourite and a great healthy fish to eat as it contains lots of good fats and omega 3. We love to serve ours simply with seasonal veg and delicious crispy skin.

Preparation time: 10 minutes • Cooking time: 25 minutes • Serves 4

4–6 orange kumara

a knob of fresh ginger

1 large tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

Balsamic Glaze (see page 183)

Seasonal veges

4 salmon fillets, de-boned with skin on

2 tablespoons coconut or canola oil


Heat a large pot of salted water. Peel the kumara and chop into even chunks. Boil for 10–20 minutes, until soft. As the kumara cooks, make the glaze (see page 183).

Once the kumara is cooked, drain and add ginger and butter and plenty of salt and pepper. Mash well or use a stick blender.

Set aside and keep warm while you cook the fish.

Prepare the salmon by patting down gently with paper towels until dry. (This is the key to crispy skin — you must remove all the excess moisture.) Season the flesh with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan and add coconut or canola oil.

Gently rub the salmon skin with oil and place, skin-side down, in the pan. Set the timer for 4 minutes and, using a metal spatula, gently press on the fish for a few seconds to cook evenly. When the fish is ready, it should flip with little resistance. Turn gently and leave to cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with tinfoil and leave to rest for 4 minutes.

Steam the veges. Divide mash, salmon and veges between four plates. Drizzle the Balsamic Glaze on top or serve in a jug so friends and family can pour their own.

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Filo Parcels

Chicken & Basil Filos

These little beauties are absolutely delicious, and a meal I often cook when guests come over. They take a little bit of preparing but are super-fast to cook. Izzy often asks for these filos, but they are not exactly the most highly nutritious meal so I like to save them for special occasions. Note a pastry brush will really help with this recipe.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes • Cooking Time: 10 minutes • Serves 6

6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh cutlets

1 cup olive or vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

3 zucchinis, grated

250g punnet sour cream

250g punnet cream cheese

135g tub basil and cashew pesto

375g packet filo pastry

¼ cup Parmesan

Sweet chilli sauce, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake. Line an oven tray with tinfoil or baking pape

Chop the chicken into small pieces and place in a frying pan on medium heat along with the onion and a little oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and fry the chicken and onion until chicken is completely cooked. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, sour cream, cream cheese and pesto. Add cooled chicken and onion and mix together well.

Lay one sheet of filo pastry down (landscape direction) on a flat, dry surface. Dip pastry brush in oil and paint the corners, then paint an X in the middle and place another filo pastry sheet on the top. Repeat twice more. There should be four layers of pastry sheets. Cut in half with a sharp knife.

Take one half and lay out in a landscape direction again. Place 4 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the middle. Fold the bottom up and the top down, meeting in the middle. Then take the right end and roll and flip until you have a rectangle. Coat the open edge with oil to stick it down.

Repeat the process until all chicken mixture has been used up. You will usually get through a whole packet of filo pastry.

When all filos are lined up on the tray, sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for about 10 minutes. Watch them very closely; when the tops have a slight brown tinge they are ready.

Serve with a dollop of sweet chilli sauce and a yummy fresh salad.

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Nachos

Vege-packed Nachos

Nachos are always a great rugby-night meal, especially for the kids. They are also a really great way to hide some veges in amongst all the other naughty ingredients. You can add any other seasonal veg you want, or replace the chicken with mince.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes • Cooking Time: 5 minutes • Serves 6

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or tenderloins)

1 onion, diced

Olive oil

420g can chilli beans

500g tomato-based pasta sauce

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

½ eggplant, finely diced

5 button mushrooms, diced

1 zucchini, finely diced

Salt and pepper

Corn chips

Grated cheese (mozzarella is awesome)

½ cup Guacamole (see page 183)

½ cup sour cream

½ cup Salsa (see page 183)


Cut chicken into pieces and place in a frying pan with the onion and some olive oil. Cook until onion has browned and the chicken is nearly cooked. Add beans, pasta sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Simmer on medium heat until the chicken is completely cooked.

Mix eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini through chicken mixture and cook for another couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Layer corn chips on six plates. Scoop nacho mixture over corn chips, dividing it evenly between each plate. Sprinkle over grated cheese. Place each plate under the grill until cheese is melted and chips are slightly brown. (They can burn super-fast so watch them closely!)

Allow the plates to cool a little, then add a heaped tablespoon each of Guacamole, sour cream and Salsa to each plate (or serve these on the side in bowls, so people can help themselves).

1200 x 800 fetaured images - Book Teriyaki Chicken

Izzy’s pre-game Teriyaki Chicken on Rice

This little beauty of a meal was taught to me by good friends of ours, the Robertson’s. From when I first cooked it, it has become part of our weekly diet. Izzy refuses to have any other meal the night before his games. One of the most simple, tasty and oh-so-popular recipes we have stumbled upon!

Preparation Time: 10 minutes • Cooking Time: 15 minutes • Serves 4

1½ cups rice

3 cups boiling water

5 boneless, skinless chicken thigh cutlets

400g Teriyaki Sauce (shop-bought or homemade, see page 181)

¼ cup sesame seeds

1 spring onion

4 cups coleslaw (shop-bought or homemade, see page 184)

2 tablespoons sesame seed dressing (shop-bought)

¼ cup Kewpie mayonnaise

Avocado slices, to garnish


Place rice and water in a rice cooker and leave to cook for about 15 minutes. If you do not have a rice cooker, then cook in a large pot on the stove, or in the microwave in a covered microwave-proof container, for 12–15 minutes.

Slice chicken thigh cutlets and add to the Teriyaki Sauce with the sesame seeds. Fold to mix.

Finely slice the green part of the spring onion. In a bowl, mix the coleslaw with the sesame seed dressing to coat it.

When the rice is nearly cooked, place the chicken and sauce in a frying pan on medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes. If the mixture gets too sticky, add some water and continue to cook until you have a nice smooth runny sauce.

To serve, scoop the rice into a small ramekin or bowl and flip onto a plate. Place chicken teriyaki over the top and the coleslaw mixture on the side of the plate. Sprinkle over the spring onion and place some avocado on the side. Drizzle mayonnaise over the top.