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

Bomb Fire


Straight from the bomb fire.

Straight from the bomb fire.

Growing up on a farm for my childhood, we had bomb fires on regular basis. Cooking in the embers of the fire is a great way to impart smokey flavour and a unique cooking technique.

I took the idea of cooking my Kamo Kamo (Maori pumpkin type squash) in the bomb fire from my family cooked bomb-fire potatoes when I was a kid. I always got the job of raking the embers over the tin foiled potatoes then digging them out after a hour or so and eating with melted butter yum!!


From the Land


Foraged straight from the lush green paddocks of home.

Foraged straight from the lush green paddocks of home.


Good to be back on the home farm in the South Waikato of New Zealand after such a long time away. With the damp wet weather comes a perfect time to head out into the lush green paddocks in search of field mushrooms. Just meters from the door step and only taking 10 minutes out of my day I filled a billy easily and headed back to the kitchen to create an easy mushroom dish.

Sautéed field mushrooms in a garlic & parsley sauce


500g field mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. italian parsley, rough chop
1/2 lemon, zest
2 tbsp. butter
salt & pepper


  1. Heat heavy based frypan to a high heat, close to the point of smoking. (mushrooms contain a lot of moisture and if not cooked at a high heat will stew instead of frying.)
  2. Add oil followed by mushrooms, saute for 2-3 minutes until brown and fragrant.
  3. Add butter, parsley, lemon zest and good seasoning of salt and pepper. Stir until you have glossy coasted mushrooms.
  4. Perfect to have on toast, tossed through pasta or on a side of steak like ive used mine.

Serves: 2-3

Stomach Pleaser

Cauliflower and Cheese bake with Bacon Crumb

Cauliflower baked with gooey molten cheese sauce topped with bacon crumb = Stomach pleaser!

Perfect accompaniment to shepherds pie a side of cauliflower cheese.
Well tonight I thought I would change it up a wee bit and halve cook my cauliflower place in an earth ware oven proof dish and cover with cheesy chive sauce follow by a couple of slices of aged cheddar and bake until golden brown and bubbling. Sprinkle with bacon crumb and return to the oven for just a few minutes. Leaving you with a deliciously gooey cheesy baked cauliflower with crunchy bacon crumb.

Perfect side for my shepherd’s pie and balsamic cherry tomatoes!

Heart Warmer

Raosted Cauliflower and Smoked Bacon Soup with Crsipy Onions

Roasted Cauliflower and Smoked Bacon Soup with Crispy Caramel Onions

With a soulful thought and some tender loving care, I have created a heart warming soup to put a smile on anyone’s face. Rich and warming smoky bacon infused roasted cauliflower soup with hints of fresh corn finished with pulled smoked bacon and crunchy caramel onions .

As the months grow colder and the days grow shorter we are in need of some hearty warming dishes. Cauliflower is in an abundance at the moment and oh so cheap. Picking up a whole Cauli for $2.50 at the farmers market= BARGIN. The best thing about this recipe is it makes 3.5 ltrs and is great to be frozen and pulled out on a cold winter night or served fresh on the day of making. I believe soups always grow tasty the day after making , the flavours become bolder and harmonize together creating an ever so tasty spoonful.

Would you like this recipe? Comment Below

I’m sure your Family would love to see this on the table!

A trip to the beach


A kiwi classic

A day of adventure

Today I took a trip out of Dunedin and headed down the coast just a short trip 20 minutes down the east coast of New Zealand to the small community of Brighton. As I opened the car door and got a whiff of salt air the memories come flooding back not of here in Brighton but of my childhood and all the trips me and my family would take to the beach. One thing that all of those trips had in common was the good old kiwi classic Fish and Chips. Growing up in New Zealand we hold two things very close to our hearts; 1- Fish and Chips with classic Watties tomato sauce and 2- Our beautiful country.

Growing up in a country like this is a privilege New Zealand is by far one of the most amazing places on earth. I have done a bit of travelling over the years to Australia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore and I will tell you this now and I can guarantee again in the future that there is no place in the world like home, New Zealand.

Our country not only has amazing people but the land is such an amazing place it gives you so much, you just have to know what you are looking for.
While on my wee trip to the beach to reminisce in a great family past time of hot chips and tomato sauce I thought I would put my knowledge of foraging to use and forage some ingredients to make a dish out of. In my first year of my degree we did a foraging paper which showed and helped us understand what around our country is edible and it provides on a daily and seasonal basis. It was to my amazement that there is so much around you that is edible and is free, there are so many plants that grow around the coast  that are edible. I set about looking around the coastline where there was plenty of foliage and found an abundance of beach spinach (Kokihi)- Native to New Zealand it is not the same kind of spinach you get from the supermarket it has thicker leaves and has a similar taste. It has red/pinky stalks and creeps along the ground a good source of vitamin C .

Beach Spinach ( Kokihi)We are so lucky in New Zealand


Here are two images of New Zealand beach spinach , on the left is some lush patch of fresh new growth that was in a spot well shaded and protected from the sun and on the right is some older beach spinach which was more open to direct sunlight. Both are edible but the greener leaves have a more fresh taste to them as they are younger.
I will be posting a dish that uses beach spinach in a later post.
It can be used like regular spinach just make sure that you give it a good rinse and then it is ready to use. Great in salads, pasta dishes even puréed  up and served on a piece of venison.

Please check out a post I will be adding in the next couple of days: Handmade beach spinach pesto.