Broccoli, Kumara and Blue Cheese Soup

Well, hello there! It’s winter and it’s cold and all I really feel like eating is soup. Tonight I whipped up a broccoli, kumara and blue cheese soup for dinner, and it’s delish! You can too…

Broccoli, Kumara and Blue Cheese Soup
Serves 4

  • 4 small kumara
  • 1tbsp oil
  • salt and cracked pepper
  • chilli powder
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese

Heat oven to 190 degrees and cut kumara into chunks. Spread in a roasting dish, add oil, salt and pepper and chilli powder. Roast for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Cut broccoli in small bits. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, then add broccoli. Boil for four minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove broccoli from water and place in a blender or food processor. Add about three cups of the salted water from the saucepan. Add kumara and blue cheese. Blend very well, at least two minutes, until smooth. Taste, and season.


Mini Quiches

Quiche. It can be eaten at any time during the day. Breakfast? Yum! Lunch? Great! Dinner? Delicious! A quiche is a bit like a good club sandwich – an oldie but a goodie and quite a kiwi one at that!

One night this week, dinner consisted of mini quiches in homemade pastry shells with mushrooms, diced onions, bacon, sun dried tomatoes and a sprinkling of cheese. To lighten the meal up a bit I served it with a green salad.

Quiche is one of my favourite things to make and these are so adorable and much more fun than a regular old quiche! As a child I remember going to great Aunt’s house in Eastbourne, Wellington. She had set up a little tea party for my two older sisters and me. We each had our own individual teacup, saucer and teapot (with hot blackcurrant!). I remember walking away thinking that was just the bee’s knees. It could have been partly to do with having two siblings and having to share everything..yeah, I was no good at that but that summer afternoon made so much sense, everything was all right with my 7 year old world.

To cut the long story short, since then I’ve always liked meals that are presented as individual portions (these days it is never a sharing issue, more aesthetically pleasing presentation!). Anything in ramekins like mini pot pies – fish or chicken and leek I just love. MMMmmm.

These little gems are just so damn tasty but you can decide for yourself. The idea is to be creative and play with ingredients! I used a 12-hole muffin pan for this basic quiche recipe. I cut out square pieces of pastry and just kind of free formed the crust. I love making a quiche and it is such a great staple for the ultimate kiwi summertime picnic. Amen.

Mini Quiches

For the pastry crust:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 50 grams of butter, softened
  • 1/2 a cup of grated cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons of water
Sift the flour and salt together. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the grated cheese and then the water, a few drops at a time until the dough sticks together and forms a soft ball. You may need to add a small amount of flour if the mixture appears a little too wet. Chill the dough for five minutes. Roll dough out onto a floured board and slice into 10 x 10 cm squares. Place each square until a muffin hole and shape to fit.
For the filling:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 a cup of trim milk
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/2 a cup of grated cheese (or chopped feta)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • sliced mushrooms
Beat the eggs, milk, flour, salt and pepper together. Fill the small pastry cases with anything you’d like in your quiches. I used all ingredients listed above. If using bacon, give it a quick zap in the microwave first and then chop up and divide between the muffin holes. Top with cheese and pour the egg mixture between each muffin hole. Shake a wee bit of pepper and salt over the top of each. I also topped the quiches with a few pine nuts to add to the flavour!
Bake at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Best Pizza

I really enjoy going home to see my family. My Mum is a great cook and most things I’ve learnt in the kitchen have been from her. Yep, there is nothing quite like coming home to Mum’s cooking! Even if it is for just one weekend every now and then.

This experience is made even more enjoyable when it is italian. There are some recipes I have hidden away in several books that I’d like to try to make myself one day. Calzone, bruschetta, homemade ciabatta… these are just a few and will all (hopefully) feature in future posts. Italy, particularly Florence, is one place I cannot wait to visit!

Pizza is usually quite quick and relatively cheap to make. I must admit, I have struggled to find a really nice pizza dough recipe but Mum makes a really good one so I thought I would copy it down and share it. Mmmm, delicious pizza!


For the pizza dough

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil
  • A combination of milk and water

For the topping (anything that suits your fancy really, these are some of my favourites)

  • Tomato paste
  • Pesto
  • Onion
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Capers
  • Mushrooms
  • Italian sausage

As simple as this! Combine the oil and the other dry ingredients. Mix to a dough with milk and water. This pizza dough only needs a very light knead. Roll the dough out and place into a pizza plate. I like round pizzas so have a circular pizza tray but you can use pretty much any baking tray.

Top with anything you so desire, a combination of tomato paste and pesto (you can even make your own) is a good start. Onion, mushrooms, olives…I’ll leave it up to you. Traditional pizzas only use 2 or 3 toppings per base but I like a few more than this. Cover with cheese, I find putting mozzarella on after the tomato paste/pesto combination and before the mushrooms, cabanossi (similar to salami), olives etc is a good idea. The cheese then won’t go hard on top when put in the oven and the pizza has a really nice stringy feel to it. You can then top with a small amount of regular cheese.

Put the pizza into a pre-heated oven (200°degrees) for about 20 minutes. Like most pizzas, this one is even tastier the next day for lunch. Enjoy!