It's Autumn here in New Zealand, although it's felt decidedly summery up until about this morning. I finally had a weekend at home this one just gone and gosh it felt good to get a bit of work done, give my shambolic pantry and overdue clean out, and relax, just a bit. Freelancing and blogging means there's always work to be done, but I'm slowly getting better at balance. Sort of.  

Currently swirling around my brain: how to get salted caramel into cookies, winter cocktails, what to wear to the wedding I have on Saturday, who might win Restaurant of the Year, where to get the best brunch, and earlier, what to have for lunch. With a fair amount of recipe testing and restaurant visiting, I try and keep things pretty healthy at home, and today was a matter of simply turning to the cupboard and the garden. This very delicious salad was born - it's amazing what seed and nut related treats you can find when you clean your pantry out. This is one of those salads you could make in about 5 minutes after dinner and take to work for lunch the next day. The walnuts and the tarragon really made it for me, and I reckon it's good enough to share. Enjoy x 

Recipe inside!

lentil and beet salad

Serves 2


  • 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 med-large raw beetroot, grated
  • Half a capsicum, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 leaves of spinach, silverbeet, rainbow chard, or similar, stalks and leaves, thinly sliced
  • A few cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A sprinkle of pumpkin seeds
  • A sprinkle of linseeds (you could change for other seeds - just use what you have)
  • A sprinkle of walnut pieces (you could use any nut you have)
  • A mixture of fresh herbs - I used parsley, basil, and tarragon from my garden. 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Small splash red wine vinegar
  • Small splash pomegranate mollases 
  • Large dollop of hummus, to serve


Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix gently. Spoon into bowls and serve with a large dollop of hummus. Enjoy! 

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 1:10 PM // Labels: salad, gluten free, lunch

It's Friday! Welcome to the first edition of friday drinks for 2015. Where to start, I hear you ask. Well, there's been a few beers, and some crisp g&t's, and a fair bit of rosé sampling over the last few weeks of this glorious summer we're enjoying. But it's still party season - I'm off to the dizzying heights of Waipukurau for the weekend for my friend's 30th birthday in a woolshed, and I imagine there will be a bit of bubbles going down. 

I turned 30 last year, and welcomed everyone to the party with a prosecco-aperol spritz. In the days before the party, Mum and I scoured op-shops all over the city to acquire a ramshackle collection of about 80 champagne flutes. On a little tea trolley with a bunch of flowers we served them, before toasting and drinking and eating and dancing. 

Recipe inside!

Prosecco plum bellini


  • About 6-8 tinned black doris plums, stones removed
  • Small pinch cardamom or cinnamon powder
  • Small splash of brandy, per glass
  • Riccadonna Prosecco

1. Blitz up the plums and the small pinch of cinnamon or cardamon in a small food processor, or with stick blender, or using a muddler. 

2. Spoon 2 tablespoons of plum puree into each glass, and add a splash of brandy. 

3. Top each glass with prosecco and enjoy! Garnish with some fresh berries and/or an edible flower. 

Thanks to Riccadonna for the Prosecco


// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 9:37 AM // Labels: friday drinks, plum, prosecco, parties

Well would you look at that, it's February already. The year started pretty quietly, and January can be a long time between paychecks when you're a slightly disorganised freelancer. You'll be pleased to know I utilised my down time with some lofty ambitious planning for the year ahead and for the food empire in general, and I cannot wait to tell you all about it. Life eh?! So bloody exciting. 

As well as ticking things over with Metro magazine and the Herald on Sunday, and attending friends weddings and 30ths around the country, my first big work gig of the year was on Saturday down in sunny Marlborough.  

I'd been to Marlborough in October with Regal Salmon - they took me along with Kasey and Karena of Masterchef fame, who also write in the Herald on Sunday, and we got a tour of all the behind-the-scenes NZ King Salmon action. We went by water taxi out to the Clay Point farm in the Marlborough Sounds, and saw a pod of dolphins on the way for good measure. We went over the hill to Takaka to the hatchery, which was fascinating, and after lunch at the Brancott Estate Heritage Centre (delicious food, stunning views) and before a gorgeous dinner at The Boat Shed in Nelson, we called in at the processing plant, or the fish-factory as I like to call it. 

Recipe inside!

crispy skinned salmon with hazelnut pesto

This recipe was created for Regal Salmon, for my cooking demonstration at the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival in February 2015. 

Serves 4.

For the pesto

½ cup hazelnuts

1 garlic clove

1 cup fresh coriander

½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tbsp capers

Zest of half a lemon

125ml olive oil

Flaky sea salt

  1. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, dry toast the hazelnuts for about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour on to a tea towel, and rub them to remove any excess skin. Allow to cool.
  3. In a food processor, place the garlic, coriander, parsley, capers, lemon zest, and half of the hazelnuts. Pulse until finely ground.
  4. Leave the machine running on low, and slowly add the olive oil. Season with sea salt.
  5. Coarsely chop the remaining hazelnuts for garnish.

For the salmon

1 tbsp cooking oil

4 x 150g pieces of salmon, skin on

2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the salmon:

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Season salmon with a little salt, and place in the pan skin side down, until it’s crisp. This will take a few minutes.
  2. Add the butter and baste the salmon, then caerefully flip each piece.
  3. Keep on the heat for about 1-2 minutes, which will cook the salmon to pink in the middle.
  4. Serve with your favourite greens (sautéed spinach, asparagus, or bok choy) and the pesto. Garnish with additional chopped hazelnuts.  
// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 12:05 PM // Labels: Travel, new zealand, salmon

It's Christmas Eve (in the drunktank) and every year I say I'm going to be organised and not let christmas madness get to me, and pretty much every year I spectacularly fail. However! The holidays are here, there's some breathing time until the next deadline, and it's time to relax, hit the beach, reassess, and then finetune my plans for smashing 2015. Exciting! 

So, the perfect accompaniment to friends and family and festivities, comes to us today, this special edition of friday-drinks-on-a-wednesday-because-it's-christmas, thanks to Bombay Sapphire and their resident cocktail mastermind Dickie Cullimore. Herewith, the Christmas Collins, a tart yet fruity and very festive drink. Just perfect for Christmas eve, and let's face it, you deserve it. Strawberries are abundant, there is probably some basil in your garden, and if your booze cabinet doesn't have a bottle of gin on the shelf, then I hope Santa rectifies that for you. Have the happiest of Christmases everyone! Cheers, and thanks for reading x 



Recipe inside!

the Christmas Collins

Thanks to Bombay Sapphire for the recipe. 

• 45ml Bombay Sapphire
• 45ml soda
• 20ml lemon juice
• 10ml strawberry syrup
• 1 strawberry, roughly chopped
• 4 basil leaves, torn

Garnish: Sprig of basil and a strawberry heart
Glass: Highball

1. First, place the chopped strawberry and torn basil leaves in a highball glass and gently muddle. Add the Bombay Sapphire, lemon juice, strawberry syrup and ice to a shaker.

2. Shake and strain into the glass. Fill the glass with ice and charge with soda, before garnishing with the basil sprig and strawberry heart. Enjoy!

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 10:51 AM // Labels: friday drinks, gin, cocktails, christmas

I love a challenge when it comes to cooking and baking, so rather than turn my nose up at food-intolerances, I usually relish the restriction of ingredients, try my hardest to seek out delicious alternatives, and maybe learn about a new ingredient or method while I'm at it. Bonus points if you feed them to people who don't even realise the baked goods may be gluten-free, or vegan, or organic or whatever. And so when the need arose for a gluten-free morning tea the other day, I went straight to my favourite place for all things wholefoody, my friend Kelly's blog bonnie delicious. Sure enough, fellow cookie-afficianado Kelly (whose instagram is worth a gander if you're that way inclined) had in pride of place these very simple vegan dark chocolate and peanut butter cookies, and no more than 30 minutes later was I eating peanut butter by the spoonful as I put these in the oven. 

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 2:40 PM // Labels: vegan, gluten-free, baking, cookies

About three weeks ago, amongst the ever-present looming of deadlines, I got one of those calls that meant about two weeks ago I was flying business class to Sydney for a night, thanks to Qantas.

Qantas has completely changed up the way it serves food in economy class, and had a launch lunch to tell us all about it. I went over the day before the launch which meant I had a bonus day to spend in Sydney - dealing to deadlines in a Sydney café instead of an Auckland one, catching up with my big sister and brother-in-law, and eating as much as possible in a short space of time. It was awesome.

Here’s how it went.

It was an early start to check in before the 8am flight. This was not helped by the fact I’d been at a winemaker’s dinner the Monday night before, which ended with a casual bottle of Bollinger La Grande Année. After a little OPI purchase, a mediocre Airport coffee, and adding to my Penguin classic collection with Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (which I’m loving), I got to the boarding gate. I was waiting patiently when those immortal words were uttered: “Ms Mes, your upgrade has come through.”

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 11:10 AM // Labels: sydney, Travel, airplane food

Recipe inside!

the Rosemary 75

Infusing the gin: if you want to do a whole bottle, just add a few stalks of fresh rosemary to the bottle and leave for a few days. If you don't want an entire bottle of rosemary-gin, get a smaller bottle with a sealable lid and do it on a smaller scale. 

Thanks to Nick from the Golden Dawn and Kelly from bonnie delicious for creating this little beauty. 


  • About a 30mL shot (be generous!) of rosemary-infused Rogue Society dry gin
  • All Good Organics sparkling blood orange
  • Dry cava (or another dry sparkling wine)
  • A slice of blood orange, and fresh rosemary, to garnish

1. Fill a tall glass with ice. 

2. Add the gin, and half fill the glass with sparkling blood orange. Stir together with a long handled stirrer. 

3. Top with dry cava, and garnish with a slice of blood orange and a sprig of rosemary.  

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 4:39 PM // Labels: friday drinks, gin, cocktails, kinfolk

The world's gone mad for chocolate milk. And when I say the world, I mean the north island of New Zealand. And even then, I only mean the people who have been able to get their hands on this stuff. It's bloody liquid gold. As Campbell Live has reported people are queuing, supermarket staff are being harrassed, there are two-bottle limits in place, and security guards have been employed. It's ridiculous. 

I would have told you to believe the hype, until I heard local dairies were selling bootleg versions, and a black market had emerged on trade me. 

It's definitely delicious. As a non-milk drinker (you could not pay me to drink a glass of plain milk straight, and if you saw my bank balance you'd know that is really saying something. Bleurgh.) I have always liked chocolate milk. I'm also a big fan of Lewis Road Creamery, their butter is incredible and I very much appreciate a small company doing one thing very well. Whittakers do it with chocolate, and Lewis Road with dairy products. Together, they're in a match made in utter heaven. 

Recipe inside!

crack milk

  • Lewis Road Creamery chocolate milk
  • Baileys irish cream
  • plenty of ice

1. Fill a glass with ice

2. Add a generous pour of Baileys

3. Top with milk

4. Lose your shit 

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 3:32 PM // Labels: friday drinks, chocolate, milk

Liesl was shit out of luck when she enthusiastically requested to stay up "....and taste my first champagne" in that wondourous Sound of Music house party scene. The tension between Maria and the Captain you could cut with a knife, and the Baroness knew it. The most maligned character of the entire movie, according to my sister, the eternally glamorous Shraeder really was quite something. Once Maria had the Captain dancing the ländler, she knew she was doomed.  

And poor Liesl, sent off to bed with her siblings. At 16 (going on 17) she was far more likely to be sniffing around her Dad's liquor cabinet, especially before sneaking out to pash Rolf in the rain. Beware the Baroness though; she would have tolerated nothing less than perfect behaviour from her love interest's eldest. 

Recipe inside!

baroness' revenge


  • 30mL Chambord
  • 30mL Vodka
  • Sparkling grapefruit (san pellegrino pomello or all good white grapefruit)


1. Place a large ice cube in a champagne saucer.

2. Add the shot of chambord and the shot of vodka. 

3. Top with sparkling grapefruit. Sip and enjoy! 

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 12:18 PM // Labels: friday drinks, chambord, cocktails, the sound of music

One of my favourite things about working from home is the fact I can cook myself something for lunch. Even though back when I used to work in an office I would get very creative with my take-to-work salads, the ability to just fry up some haloumi, or throw down a noodle stir fry is very satisfying indeed.

The other really great thing about working from home is the amount of procrastibaking I can do. If I get an overwhelming desire to spend the morning making a cake and deal to deadlines at bedtime, then heck, I will. And oh, I do. 

Staying true to my love of all things seasonal, I have been buying up rhubarb by the bunch lately, and making this rhubarb and vanilla cake a lot. About 4 times in as many weeks lately, which is a lot of cakes. My friend's birthday and then my Mum's, and then as a thank you present, and one because I just damn well felt like it. 

Recipe inside!

Rhubarb and vanilla cake

This recipe is from The Caker's Seasonal Fruit Cake

150g softened butter

150g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla paste

3 free range eggs

150g spelt flour

50g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup full fat unsweetened natural yoghurt

2 cups chopped rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake. Grease and line 2 x 22cm cake tins.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy. Note: this takes ages! I always give it a good 10-15 minutes to get it really pale and really fluffy. It's worth it! 

Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix them in gently, along with the yoghurt and the ground almonds. Be careful not to over mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the two tins and gently press in the rhubarb.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.

Cool the cakes for around 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.

For the cream cheese icing, beat cream cheese, honey and lime juice until smooth.

To decorate: 

Once the cakes are cool, you can either ice the cakes separately - I like to ice over the fruit side, or you can sandwich them together with jamor icing or both, and then ice the top and decorate. I love a good layer cake, but I also love the single layer cake as a nice small gift. 


As The Caker does, fresh flowers and freeze dried fruit powder always make a cake look pretty. See how you go! 

Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

// Posted by Heartbreak Pie at 3:31 PM // Labels: cake, rhubarb, the caker