Market at Bastille









Food, food and more glorious food at a market in Bastille, Paris. It was very early in the morning (thanks jet-lag) and we got there just as all the vendors were setting up. There was nothing to do but buy a nutella crêpe and perch on a bench waiting for them to open. It was the first time I tried nutella. Or ‘noooo-tella’ as the girl making it said. (As she I couldn’t help but think of Amélie, imagining records being made with a crêpe rake.)

Eventually the market jolted to life, and we bought as much cheese, bread and fruit as we could carry. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the intoxicating scent of fresh yellow pears, stacked high to the stall roof.

Bastille Market – Sundays
Boulevard RichardLenoir, Bastille, Paris.

Sugar fiesta: Fried Cinnamon Tortillas

Fried Cinnamon Tortilla Chips - photo from Chow

The other night we enjoyed another edition of the Wine Cellar’s dinner club. It’s where all the people who work there and the groupies like myself come together and cook to a theme. (Duh, it’s called a pot luck, Amber.)

Anyway, Bastille Day was a huge hit, so this time we all went out  for another country – Mexico! While the others offered amazing salsa, chili and quesadillas, I rustled up a desert of sorts: fried cinnamon tortillas.  They are so easy to make, and delicious like Little Orbit donuts – you must try them for yourself.

Fried cinnamon tortillas

Cooking oil
Tortillas (pre-made is easiest)

Cut up tortillas into small strips, or if you are feeling fancy, get out the cookie cutter. Fry the tortilla strips in oil till golden, then set aside on a paper towel to cool. Mix 1 part cinnamon to 3 parts sugar in a brown paper bag (or a container, but a bag means no mess). Put the now cooled strips into the paper bag and shake-shake-shake until everything is coated evenly. Serve with chocolate sauce, a fruit salsa, or just alone.

Oh and while you’re cooking, put on some tunes. May I recommend Down in Mexico by The Coasters? Made famous by that honky-tonk bar scene in Death Proof, and sure to get you dancing.

Martha’s Backyard

With departure imminent, I am trying to tick all the Auckland boxes I have just never got round to…. One of these to-do’s was a visit to Martha’s Backyard, the local USA food and clothing emporium. I have no pictures of the shop, but a few photos of the bounty and some sub-par junk food reviews!


american bounty

  •  Eating Cheetos (for the first time) made me feel like I could understand the inner workings of Britney Spears. It’s corn crack! It makes you do stupid stuff. Like eat the whole packet in one mouthful…
  • I can’t believe there is a cereal version of my favourite imported candy! The Reese’s Puffs look like dog kibble but taste delicious or their own or with milk. Watch out though because they make your entire biosphere smell like peanut butter.
  • Eat. Spit. Be Happy. I had never imagined sunflower seeds as a snack – these BBQ ones were quite more-ish but were really messy with all the shelling and spitting. Good for mindless TV watching. Or sports.
  • Barnum’s Animals crackers seemed like the poor child’s version of the amazing animal biscuits I enjoyed as a kid in NZ. Our ones had fluro-coloured icing! The circus inspired packaging is super cute though.
  • “MoonPie, you were a let down.”
Moon Pie

There was also some Big Red soda which tasted just like cinnamon bubble gum. Next time? More soda, perhaps some Lucky Charms and wheatie, sugary Life cereal, some of those “smore” flavoured pop tarts (they have a big range), and yes, an essential tub of marshmallow whip…

Martha’s Backyard
A. 114 Lunn Ave, Remuera 1072
T. 09 570 7976



Soup kitchen

Perhaps one of the signs of a great party is no photos. If so, this little dinner party I hosted last week, a “soup kitchen”, was one of the best. I have only have two snaps to mark an evening defined by big pots of soup, simmering gently on the stove. Thank you to my beautiful friends for supplying: cheap vino for the mulled wine, bread for dunking and great conversation.

If it’s the middle of winter and you’re out to feed a crowd, there is no better path to follow than the way of the soup. I made a creamy cauliflower and potato, and a vegan ‘French’ onion soup (it turns out golden syrup is a good replacement for the more ‘spensy Maple Syrup).

Soup Kitchen

Cauliflower and potato soup

{Adapted from Cuisine magazine}

100g unsalted butter
1 large brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons Dijon or whole grain mustard
100ml cream

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion and garlic. Fry until translucent. Add the cauliflower and potatoes. Pour in the stock and milk. Cover, bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is tender. Optional: a few splashes of white wine. When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the liquid, purée with salt to taste and the mustard. Return to the saucepan and bring back to heat, stirring gently. Serve with cheesy toasted bread for best results.

Yield: 4 servings



cos·set/ˈkäsit/ verb: Care for and protect in an overindulgent way. Taking refuge from the winter winds that battered the city all weekend, the brunch club ventured out to suburbia out to Cosset, a sweet little café in Auckland’s Mt Albert. And indulge us they did.

Cosset cafe

Cosset Cafe

It’s a warm and cozy place, filled with vintage furniture, stacks of magazines and lots of plants. The counter was stacked high with homemade bread and baking, and the staff were incredibly friendly. You can’t help but feel like you are taking tea in someone’s stylish living room.

Sarah at Cosset Cafe

I was delighted to discover that Cosset’s menu is entirely vegetarian, and was so delicious that the rest of the crew forgot about bacon. We ate: beans on toast with ripe avocado, coffee beans smothered in chocolate truffle, garlic mushrooms, and my pick of the day; toasted banana nut bread smeared with butter. We drank: star anise and feijoa sodas (made with Cosset’s own syrups), lavender lattes, and bracing Kokako coffee.

Brekkie at Cosset cafe

Double shot flat white at Cosset Cafe

Thom at Cosset Cafe

Team Brunch post Cosset

Oh boy, it was a lovely way to spend a lazy Sunday. With bellies full and minds humming from all the caffeine; we headed back to the car feeling, yes, cared for. I think we are all promising to ourselves that we will visit Cosset again soon.

A. 1087 New North Rd, Mt Albert 1025 

T. 09 846 0655


Currently reading

Blood Bones & Butter - Gabrielle Hamilton

I love good writing about food, and Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chefby Gabrielle Hamilton ticks all the boxes. Hamilton is not only the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village, she also has an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan.

“I wanted a place with a Velvet Underground CD that made you nod your head and feel warm with recognition. I wanted the lettuce and the eggs at room temperature … I wanted the tarnished silverware and chipped wedding china from a paladar in Havana, and the canned sardines I ate in that little apartment on Twenty-Ninth Street. The marrow bones my mother made us eat as kids that I grew to crave as an adult. We would have brown butcher paper on the tables, not linen tablecloths, and when you finished your meal, the server would just pull the pen from behind her ear and scribble the bill directly on the paper like [the waitresses in France] had done. We would use jelly jars for wine glasses. There would be no foam and no ‘conceptual’ or ‘intellectual’ food; just the salty, sweet, starchy, brothy, crispy things that one craves when one is actually hungry.”

Apple Crumble

The last few days have been a lot chillier here in Auckland. Time has snapped back one hour and the autumn rains have started. Despite rugging up in my deliciously warm shearling jacket and winter boots, I have still managed to catch the sniffles. One of the things that has been helping me feel better, alongside cuddles on the couch and watching lots of Antiques Roadshow, is bowls of apple crumble. It’s the ultimate comfort food – working well at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time.
Photo by inner_sea

Apple Crumble

The recipe is from my friend Leon. He says that personally he always doubles the crumb mixture, but I have made it both ways and it is fine. It really depends what ingredients you have on hand – it truly is a ‘throw-it-together’ recipe it). And on that note, it works a treat with berries or peaches thrown in with the apples.

For the apples:
6-8 apples (of any variety)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ cup of water

For the crumble:
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup of melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp ginger – optional

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Peel and core the apples, chopping the flesh into large chunks. Then boil with brown sugar and a little water until you reach the desired consistency – softened but still solid.

In another bowl, coarsely mix the melted butter together with flour, caster sugar and cinnamon to make crumble.

Put the apples in an oven proof dish, and then spoon the crumble evenly on top. Cook the crumble at 180C for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve warm, or at room temperature, with a helping of ice-cream or thick yoghurt if you please.

Yield: 6 hearty servings

Lemon Syrup Loaf

Love like a sunset… or a delicious yoghurt lemon syrup loaf baking in the oven?

Yoghurt lemon syrup loaf

My boyfriend really likes cake, and he bought me a loaf pan – so I’ve been on a bit of a baking spree. I nabbed the recipe for this loaf out of Viva – the New Zealand Herald’s weekly lifestyle supplement. It’s moist, suitably dense (a slice is definitely enough to make me feel full), and to be honest, sweet enough to eat without all the syrup hoo-ha.

Yoghurt lemon syrup loaf

125g butter, softened
3 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup Greek style yoghurt, plus extra to serve

2 small lemons, sliced
1/4 cup caster sugar, extra
1/2 cup water
Icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Cream the butter, lemon and sugar until pale.

2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in the flour and the yoghurt then spoon into a greased loaf tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the loaf springs back when lightly touched.

3. Put the sliced lemons, sugar and water into a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until syrupy. Spoon over the loaf before dusting with icing sugar and serving with extra yoghurt.

100s & 1000s Of Calories

Dearest Frankie Magazine has just emailed me to announce the release of their latest recipe book, Sweet Treats.

sweet treats is a nostalgic collection of 39 indulgent recipes from a time gone by. Delicacies range from peanut brittle, honeycomb and mint patties to caramel fudge, lollipops and coconut marshmallows. Each treat evokes memories of tuckshop lines and fete cake stalls. It will delight anyone with a sweet tooth!

I own their first book, Afternoon Tea (as does everyone in the house, it seems to live permanently on our kitchen table), so I’m really excited to check this compendium of sugar out. If the recipes are half as good as the styling…

[click the images for full-sized, readable recipes]

HOW AMAZING ARE THE CANDY HEARTS?! Could they be my new business cards? Or just favours to hand out to sexy strangers and the already beloved.

Things mine would probably say:

  • “You’re a hot babe”,
  • “Can I show you my narwhal?”,
  • “Totes rad”,
  • “Mega number one dreamboat”
  • “Vodka and soda, please”…

Typical. Anyway, Sweet Treats for the win!