Caramel Oreo Cheesecake Celebration Cake



Are you wanting to create a show stopping cake for a special someone or to just treat the fam? Well do I have the cake for you, Caramel oreo cheesecake cake. The title could be a little confusing so let me explain. Dark chocolate velvet cake with dollops of cream cheese and oreo cookies baked into it creating a baked cheesecake texture. Then layered with cream cheese icing, bakers dulce de leche caramel and finally some more oreo crumb.

Caramel Oreo Cheesecake Celebration Cake

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
250ml water
2/3 cup canola oil
1 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
125gm cream cheese
1 cup.  oreos, crushed

2 1/2 cup icing sugar
250gm cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
To garnish
Bakers of Geraldine Dulce de leche caramel (found at most supermarkets)
1x packet Oreos, crushed


  1. Pre-heat to 180ºc fan bake.
  2. Line 2x sponge tins with baking paper on base and sides, if you spray with oil the baking paper sticks like a dream.
  3. In bowl sieve together flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar into a bowl and whisk to add air and incorporate all ingredients.
  4. Add oil, vanilla, water and vinegar to dry ingredients and whisk until batter is smooth. Pour evenly into lined sponge tins.
  5. Add dollops of cream cheese to both tins followed by the crushed oreos.
  6. Bake for 28 minutes until cake springs back when touched.
  7. Allow cakes to cool, remove from tin and place on  your cake stand or serving plate.
  8. To make the icing, sieve icing sugar into stand mixer bowl and add vanilla and cream cheese. Whisk for 5 minutes until light and fluffy make sure you scrape down the sides.
  9. Remove lid from caramel jar and microwave for 30 seconds.
  10. Lather half the icing on the base cake, drizzle over caramel and sprinkle with oreos.
  11. Top with second cake and repeat making a ring around the edge with the oreos this time followed by caramel.

Serves 10-12


Beef Stroganoff


It was the first day of winter yesterday here in New Zealand and its a season I don’t overly enjoy. However one of the highlights of this cold season is the comfort food that comes along with it. As im sitting here writing this post I’ve just enjoyed a nice hot bowl of pumpkin, corn and bacon chowder which I will be sharing with you soon.

Beef Strog is something that has warmed up to me as I have grown older, but now I highly enjoy the dish and decided to whip one up for our lunch yesterday and a easy recipe for all of you.

Beef Stroganoff

1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp. garlic
200gm meadow mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. butter
500gm beef stir-fry
6 tbsp. canola oil
salt and pepper
70gm tomato paste
3/4 cup gherkins, sliced
250gm sour cream
1/2 cup. cream
1 tbsp. sugar

Rice or pasta to serve


  1. Heat fry pan over high heat add 2 tbsp. oil.
  2. Coat stir-fry beef with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
  3. Fry beef in two batches to achieve nice brown colour around 2 minutes each side, once browned put in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in your fry pan add onions and garlic, cook for 2 minutes then add mushrooms and butter cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Add gherkins, tomato paste, cream and sour cream stir well, add beef and its juices.
  6. Cook for a further 10minutes add sugar and check seasoning.
  7. Serve with rice or cooked pasta.

Serves: 3-4

Sunday Brunch


Looking for something yummy to make for breakfast in bed or treat the other half? Here’s a simple recipe that will please you both; Creamy mushrooms and zucchini with fresh thyme. I served mine with poached eggs but you could easily just have them on chunky toast without eggs or take it to a whole new level and add crispy bacon as well as the poached eggs. This is a super fast recipe have it on a plate and in your mouth within 20 minutes.

Creamy Mushrooms and Zucchini with Fresh Thyme

250gm button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. crushed garlic
3 tbsp. canola oil
70gm butter
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 spinach balls, pams frozen portions
1/2 cup cream
To Serve
Toasted Vienna or Ciabatta bread
Poached eggs


  1. Heat fry pan over high heat add oil, butter, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic salt, pepper and crushed garlic.
  2. Fry for 3-4 minutes until starting to brown, add spinach balls and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Add cream allow to reduce and cook out for a further 5-6 minutes.
  4. Poach eggs and toast your Vienna bread.
  5. Check your seasoning and serve on buttered toasted Vienna with poached eggs.

Serves: 2-3

Paprika and Capsicum Venison Sausages


I love devilled sausages, well anything that has meat and a gravy like sauce to be honest with you! But what if you want to make your own from scratch? I have made a simple yet very satisfying alternative using venison sausages, which could easily swapped for beef finished with a thick bold gravy. I served this simple dish with some sesame cumin roast pumpkin, white rice and handful of spinach.  This dinner was on the plate and ready to eat within 30 minutes of starting so it would be perfect for a week night meal!

Paprika and Capsicum Venison Sausages with Sesame Cumin Roast Pumpkin

5-8 venison sausages
3 tsp. canola oil
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, 3cm chunks
1 tsp. garlic
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. cornflour
1/4 cup. Worchester sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup. water or stock
salt and pepper
Roast Sesame Pumpkin
1/2 small crown pumpkin, sliced
1 tsp, cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. garlic, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

To serve steamed rice and 1/2 bag baby spinach


  1. Pre-heat oven 200 degress fan bake.
  2. Peel pumpkin and slice, lay out on lined roasting dish and sprinkle with cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, slat pepper and oil. Roast for 25 minutes
  3. Heat fry pan over medium heat, add oil and sliced onion sauté slightly and add sausage browning each side around 2 minutes on each.
  4.  Add capsicum, garlic and paprika stir to combine.
  5. Sprinkle with cornflour until mixed in well.
  6. Combine Worchester sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and stock in a jug.
  7. Pour into sauces stirring well to avoid lumps, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes until thick and glossy.
  8. Check your seasoning, and remove pumpkin from oven this will be tender.
  9. Serve sausages on rice with a handful of fresh baby spinach and the roast sesame pumpkin.

Serves 3-4


Otaki Grans Sunday Sponge


For as long as I can remember a trip to Otaki on the Kapiti Caost of the North Island always included one of grans famous sponge cakes with home made jam of her choice to finish of a Sunday roast was tradition! Some of the earliest food memories and my passion for sharing comes from my Gran Anne Joynt. When she passed away I was lucky enough to be given her Kenwood stand mixer and famous sponge tins, something that I will cherish and look after for the rest of my life! I remember the first time I attempted a sponge cake with grans mixer and tins and it turned out a success and the true judge was my dad he was happy, but again he would have to say its good right?

Well anyway there’s a wee bit of background surrounding the Otaki Sunday Sponge. In turn fashion it is layered with homemade jam I chose a apricot one I made a few months back but you can use any jam you like.

Otaki Grans Sunday Sponge

4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup. caster sugar
1/2 cup. flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
25 gm. butter, melted and cooled
Whipped cream, homemade jam and a dust of icing sugar to serve


  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degress bake.
  2. Line two sponge tins with baking paper base and sides.
  3. Separate egg whites into a stand mixing bowl, whisk until foamy.
  4. Whisk in caster sugar and egg yolks, whisk for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  5. Sift all dry ingredients into separate bowl and fold into the egg mixture. I use a rubber scraper, start by going around the edges then a figure 8 pattern through the mix. Do not stir as you will loose all the air that makes it fluffy and light.
  6. Once flour is basically folded in fold in butter.
  7. Pour sponge batter evenly over the two sponge tins and bake for 24 minutes until sponge comes away from the edges of the tin.
  8. Cool and spread jam and whipped cream on the bottom layer followed with the lid, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!!

Serves 6-8

Baked Chicken and Mushroom Risotto with Fennel

Wanting to keep dinner pretty simple tonight and made a one dish wonder! Only had to brown a few things in a hot pan and the oven did the rest. Baked risotto rice with creamy chicken breast, mushroom, fennel, spinach and tarragon turned about to be a winner! You could serve alongside some steamed vegetables if you wanted but we kept it simple and just had the risotto bake! Could make it vegetarian and use big chunks of pumpkin for a meatless dinner.

One Dish Baked Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Risotto with Fennel

250gm. button mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1/2 brown onion, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, core removed and sliced
1 tbsp. dried tarragon
3 tbsp. oil
1/4 leek, sliced
2 cups. baby spinach
1 cup. Arborio or short grain rice
2 cup. chicken stock, warm
3/4 cup. cream
1/4 cup. white wine (optional)
Salt and Pepper
700 gm chicken breast or thigh


  1. Pre-heat oven 180 degrees fan-bake.
  2. In large oven proof dish slice mushrooms and scatter over the base followed by rice and half the spinach.
  3. Heat fry pan over high heat add half the oil, onion, garlic, tarragon and fennel with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sautee until browned add leek and cook for 2 minutes then pour in wine to deglaze the pan. I also chopped about 1 tbsp. of top of the fennel and added to the fry pan.
  4. Add to baking dish followed by remaining spinach.
  5. Add remaining oil to fry pan and season your chicken I used breast, add to hot pan and brown both sides around 2-3 minutes per side,
  6. Add to baking dish with hot stock and cream.
  7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes then remove cover and bake for a further 15 minutes until rice is tender.
  8. Serve as is or with a side of steamed vegetables.

Serves: 4-5

Chicken Parmigiana, The Real Deal


Stuck on something to impress your family or special someone well here is the dish for you. I cooked this up for my lovely flatmates on Sunday night and it sure went down a treat, lets just say it was rather quiet when this was being consumed which is a good sign right?

Crunchy crumbed chicken breast baked with tomato passata sauce, dollops of basil paste, parmesan and layers of fresh mozzarella finished in the oven until golden brown and crispy! Served up with simple spinach and garlic penne pasta. I will admit this may be on the cards again for dinner this week as it was so satisfying and tasty.

Homemade Chicken Parmigiana with Spinach and Garlic Penne

150gm Breadcrumbs
2x eggs
1/2cup Flour
2 1/2tsp Garlic Salt
2tsp Cracked black pepper
4x Chicken breast, skin removed
250ml Canola oil
500ml Tomato Passata sauce or Tomato pasta sauce
80ml Tube Basil Puree or 4 tbsp fresh basil chopped
1/2cup Parmesan, finely grated
250gm Mozzarella
1tbsp Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Spinach and Garlic Penne
50gm Baby spinach
500gm Penne Pasta
1tsp Garlic salt
1tsp Cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degress.
  2. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk together, set aside.
  3. Place flour in another bowl and add 1tsp garlic salt and 1tsp cracked black pepper, mix until seasoning is evenly mixed through.
  4. repeat same process with the bread crumbs and remaining garlic salt and cracked pepper.
  5. Firstly coat the chicken breast in flour, then into the egg mixture and finally into the seasoned bread crumbs. Set aside and repeat until all breasts are crumbed.
  6.  Heat oil in a heat based wok or fry pan over a low to medium heat until it reaches 170-180 degrees. This will take around 5 minutes or so, Be very careful at this point.
  7. Add 2x Chicken breasts to the hot oil and fry either side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, place in oven proof dish.
  8. Pour a strip of tomato passata sauce over the crumbed chicken followed by half a tube of the basil puree or 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil. Pour the remaining sauce around the sides of the dish.
  9. Sprinkle 3/4 of the parmesan over and cut mozzarella into 12 pieces, lay 3 pieces over each chicken breast.
  10. Spoon a small dollop of tomato sauce over the top of the chicken and a teaspoon of basil puree and the remainder of the parmesan.
  11. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Boil penne in heavily salted water with 2 tbsp oil until cooked.
  13. Drain and add 1 tbsp oil to prevent it from sticking together  add spinach, 1 tsp cracked black pepper and a teaspoon of garlic salt. Mix together.
  14. Remove your chicken from the oven, sprinkle with roughly chopped parsley and serve over your spinach and garlic penne.


Summer is Here


As sit here enjoying the last days of my summer holiday before I head back to work. I thought why not do some preserving, I had gifted Rhubarb and Vanilla Bean Compote to family for Christmas and was thinking I better do some savory stuff instead. I absolutely love chutney’s and relishes they can just finish a simple dish of perfectly!

This chunky smokey sweet chutney is great for using up any over ripe tomatoes. Hints of basil and fresh oregano team heavenly with smokey deep flavour from the peppers.

Green Pepper and Tomato Chutney


500g green peppers, core, seeded and sliced thinly
1 brown onion, diced
1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, rough chop
400g diced tomatoes
2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, rough chop
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 cup malt vinegar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch chilli flakes (more if you like spice)
1/8 tsp liquid smoke*


  1. In a heavy based large pot heat oil over medium heat add peppers and onion. Cook out for 15 minutes.
  2. Once sweated add all following ingredients , bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 1-1/2 hours until reduced and thick. Stir often to prevent chutney from burning.
  3. Pour into a sterile jar, seal.

Yeild: 500/800g chutney

*Liquid Smoke can be found at gourmet food store or online. This is not essential but adds a beautiful smokey flavour for the chutney.

Homemade Cinnamon Coconut Crunch Muesli


Here’s a great base recipe for homemade muesli what i mean by base recipe is you could add any chopped dried fruit you wanted I just didn’t have any in my cupboard at the time. Some of my favorites are apricots, cranberries, sultanas and blueberries.

You can use this muesli for much more than just breakfast! It can be the crunch layer in a layered yoghurt dessert added to raw muffin mix for a crumble topping and many more!

This is my new go to muesli recipe! Im sitting here at 2 in the afternoon with a big bowl and it is so tastey and crunchy, with a combination of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, finished with cinnamon and maple syrup.

Homemade Cinnamon Coconut Crunch Muesli


  • 2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 8 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 brown sugar
  • 250 gm butter, melted


  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees.
  2. In large bowl combine all ingredients, mix well, pour into a lined baking tray and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown not to dark as it will taste burnt.
  3. You want to stir it every 5-10 minutes to evenly bake the museli.
  4. Remove from oven , cool and store in an air-tight container.

Makes: 10-15 serves muesli


Sunday Comfort


With snow on the forecast and and the fire going I thought nothing better than a roast, however this time I wanted to change it up a little and try a pot roast pork.
One of the local supermarkets was selling pork shoulder for a bargain $6.99 a kg how could I not partake in that bargain!!

The Italian Herb Blend by Equagold was a perfect rub for this pork shoulder! Notes of fennel and oregano went perfectly with pork and lemon brussel sprouts, it added a good sharp tasty note to this comforting dish.

Italian Rubbed Pot Roast Pork Shoulder with braised agria potatoes,red onion and a side of garlic lemon brussel sprouts


Pot Roast Pork
1-1.5kg pork shoulder
3 tbsp Equagold Italian Blend
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cracked pepper
2 large agria potatoes, washed
1 1/2 red onion, cut into large wedges
2 garlic cloves, rough chop
2 cups vegetable stock

Garlic Lemon Brussel Sprouts
8 brussel sprouts, cut into quarters
1/8 cup water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp butter
1/2 lemon zest and juice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degress.
  2. In small bowl combine oil, salt, pepper and Italian herb seasoning, stir to combine, pour over the pork shoulder and massage in. (you could marinate overnight if you had time for extra flavour)
  3. Heat medium size fry pan, add 1 tsp oil and red onion, season and add to the bottom of casserole dish that has  a lid or you can use tin foil.
  4. Cut Agria Potatoes into Large wedges with skin on, brown slightly and add to casserole dish.
  5. Brown pork roast both sides around 3 minutes, sear in all the flavour and juices, add to the potatoes with chopped garlic and vegetable stock.
  6. Place on the lid or tin foil and bake for 2 hours.
  7. Remove pork from oven, take the fat of and shred the pork, spoon over juices from the casserole dish about 1/2 cup. (keep some juices to spoon over your finished dish.)
  8. Heat medium frypan over medium to high heat, add 1 tsp oil and brussel sprouts , brown slightly and add water. Simmer for 2 minutes, add butter,lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Finish with parsley.
  9. Place potatoes on your plate followed by onions, brussel sprouts and topped with the star Italian shredded pot roast pork, spoon over some casserole juices and serve!

Serves:1-4 ( 1 potato per person)

Cut onion into large wedges.

Cut onion into large wedges.

Combine oil, salt, pepper and Equagold's Italian Blend Seasoning.

Combine oil, salt, pepper and Equagold’s Italian Blend Seasoning.

Rub over pork and massage in for a minute.

Rub over pork and massage in for a minute.

Cut potatoes into large wedges. Leaving the skin on holds them together during the braise.

Cut potatoes into large wedges. Leaving the skin on holds them together during the braise.

Brown onion followed by potatoes.

Brown onion followed by potatoes.

Brown pork both sides add to casserole dish. Deglaze frypan with vegetable stock and add to casserole dish, place on lid and cook for 2 hours.

Brown pork both sides add to casserole dish. Deglaze frypan with vegetable stock and add to casserole dish, place on lid and cook for 2 hours.

Shred pork shoulder.

Shred pork shoulder.

Cut brussel sprouts into quarters.

Cut brussel sprouts into quarters.

Heat medium fry pan over medium to high heat, add 1 tso oil lightly brown sprouts, add water and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Heat medium fry pan over medium to high heat, add 1 tso oil lightly brown sprouts, add water and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, juice and butter.

Add salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, juice and butter.

Serve potatoes topped with onions, brussel sprouts then the star shredded pot roast pork, spoon over casserole juices and serve.

Serve potatoes topped with onions, brussel sprouts then the star shredded pot roast pork, spoon over casserole juices and serve.