how to make the perfect crepe.


Annabel Langbein’s crepe mixture is the ideal place to start here: it has the exact correct consistency, and it tastes great as well.

Continue reading

balsamic vinaigrette with pesto.

So you made gnocchi, now what do you do with it?

… pretty much anything, to be honest. Treat it like pasta and toss it with veges and meat and a delicious sauce.


Here is a super easy student sauce. You don’t have to reduce it or stew it or roast anything or even add salt. It’s just a yummy sauce, and it’s what I’ve been using to make my gnocchi delicious for the past few nights. I also add some bacon, fried until crisp, finely diced capsicum, and cauliflower. Feel free to add whatever veges and meat you have in the fridge! The great thing about gnocchi is that it works with just about anything. It’s the classic carbohydrate. I wouldn’t even feel bad about serving it with a roast meal under a pile of gravy – it’s made out of potato (note, however, that this would probably be punishable by law in Italy)!


Mix together:

about 1T balsamic vinegar

about 1tsp oil (olive oil is what you should use, probably, but I use canola – sue me, I’m a poor student)

a good dollop of fresh pesto. Maybe 1T – not more, anyway. Bonus points if you made it yourself!

About 1/2tsp minced garlic (or half a clove, mashed up, if you’ve got them roasted, hanging out in the fridge)


Give all that a good stir, and then taste. I’ve never measured my ingredients for it, and so it’s different every time, but it is awesomely delicious. The amount I make feeds two people really well over gnocchi.

If you like pesto more, or vinegar more, then add more. The great thing about this sauce is that it can be adjusted towards either end of the continuum pretty safely and still taste amazing.

Also, here’s a fun fact for your next dinner party: vinaigrette just means an emulsion of oil and vinegar.


homemade potato gnocchi.

So the boyfriend recently made me some amazing ricotta gnocchi that weren’t for dinner one night when I got home from work. We didn’t have any ricotta, see, so he used cottage cheese and grated regular cheese. The recipe he used seemed a bit weird, though, and we wound up with, essentially, little boiled omelettes. LOTS of egg.

Gnocchi as I know them are fairly dense and doughy, and so we started looking up how to make that kind. I heard all kinds of horror stories about how labour intensive and difficult they are, but they’re really easy and kinda fun to make.

I have a suspicion that any Italian looking at this will tell me my dough is too firm. But that’s OK, it’s how I like them (don’t hurt me! I don’t know any better, having never visited Italy!). Also, these are not Gold Standard gnocchi (i.e. egg-free) but the potatoes I used were nice and sticky, so there’s some potential for the next batch to be eggless.


800g (ish) potatoes

270g (ish) plain flour

1 egg

a pinch of salt


Boil the potatoes. I did them in their skins, this makes them frightfully easy to peel. When you can push a skewer into them, but they’re still firm, take them off the heat and remove them one by one from the pan, peeling and then grating as you go.

You will wind up with a mound of grated potato. Add the whisked egg (which I added the pinch of salt to) to it, followed by the flour. You’re supposed to add the flour bit by bit, but I sort of dumped mine in and mashed it around until I had a dough. I didn’t use all the flour – there was a lot left in the bowl, and I wound up using it a bit for kneading.

Knead the dough like you would bread dough, until you have a nice, even consistency.

Divide the dough into four, and roll out into long thin strands on a well floured surface. Then cut the strands up. You want them to be about 1cm thick, and then you cut them in 1cm long chunks (see below). They ought to look like little pillows.

Use a fork to indent the little guys. You have to sort of press the gnoccho onto the fork and then roll it off so that it turns into a little roundish thing … it can be a mission. But don’t worry too much about it, because the ridges you’re putting on are only there to collect sauce. You’re not going to offend the gnocchi gods or anything.

Then, chuck them into a pan of water, simmering. You want the water salted. I used my leftover water from boiling the potatoes which is why it looks a bit murky. Feel free to use fresh water, though – mine was a matter of convenience as it was already hot.

Give them a quick stir when you drop them in so as to stop them sticking to the bottom, and then take them out about a minute after they rise to the surface (this is serious guesswork. It’s hard to know which gnoccho rose first. I gave up). You can cool them in cold water and then drain them in a sieve, though both these steps are optional.

Serve with a delicious sauce, and enjoy!

Also note that this recipe serves about 8 people (or, in my case, 2 people 4 times). Sweet! (Especially as it probably cost us less than $2 to make them.)


On the left we have: 828g of potatoes. We were after 800g, I figured that was close enough. Also, cider. Always cook with cider.

On the right, gnocchi dough!


On the left, long thin strands about to become individual gnocchi.

On the right, gnocchi! Each individual is called a gnoccho. There’s your fact for the day.



On the left: gnocchi being boiled. You can see how a few of them have come to the top as they’re just about ready to come out.

On the right: the finished product! Yum.


This recipe is very loosely adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia.

miss cookie’s cupcakes.

So I just recently got a stand mixer for making my beautiful cakes, and all I’ve made with it so far is cupcakes – though I am fully intending to make some shortbread tonight or tomorrow night.

So, here are my pretties:


Double chocolate boysenberry, with boysenberry buttercream frosting.

lemon cream cheese 1-1

Lemon yoghurt, with lemony cream cheese frosting.


Spiced carrot cupcakes, iced with cream cheese frosting and garnished with chopped walnuts.


As usual, if anybody wants some recipes, flick me a tweet! They’re all based on cookbook recipes, but they’ve all been altered to (in my opinion) improve them.


Note: I also use an icing gun, not a piping bag. Hate the damned things (read: I am terrible at using them).

the best muffins i’ve ever tried.

I haven’t updated in a wee while so I thought I’d share a really great muffin recipe. It’s one of my favourites (and, super easy! Bonus points)!

Dry mix:

2 cups of plain flour

1 cup of sugar

4 tblsp of cocoa

4 tsp of baking powder

(If you only have self raising flour, only use 1 tsp of baking powder.)

Wet mix:

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of milk

2/3 cup of canola oil or melted butter


Mix the wet mix and dry mix separately, and then combine. Stir well but do not beat. Pour into a 12 cup muffin pan and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 12-15 minutes (I found the outer limit more accurate, but you will need to test with a baking spike).


For even more awesome muffins, pour the mixture into the muffin cups halfway, then add a square of cream cheese (or chocolate – caramel or peppermint or something else with a creamy centre works beautifully). Pour more mixture on top to fill the muffin cup.

I know chocolate and cream cheese may sound horrible, but it’s absolutely amazing.

Makes 12. And they’re awesome.

2 minute microwave chocolate cake in a mug

Ultra chocolatey, saucy, sweet. My own recipe (adapted, obviously, from the bazillions of mug cakes around). It makes its own sauce on top/underneath the cake, and it is amazing. I definitely recommend it.



4tblsp flour

4tblsp sugar

3tblsp cocoa

1 egg, beaten

3tblsp milk

3tblsp oil

3tblsp chocolate chips

a splash of vanilla essence

1tblsp golden syrup


Divide batter into two mugs (or one if you are feeling especially hungry). On top of each, put 1tblsp of cocoa and 1tblsp of sugar. Pour around 1inch of boiling water over each.

Microwave for 2min. Done. Love. Delicious.

Edit: Make that 2.5tblsp of cocoa in the batter UNLESS you are a complete and utter chocolate fiend. Or alternatively, use milk or white chocolate chips (mine are dark). In any case, it’s a good idea to tone down the chocolatey flavour a little bit. It can be a little intense.

huia recipe book.

So, since last time I’ve posted there has actually been quite a big development in my life. I got a sweet job for next year!

I’m pretty sure everyone knows of the existence of RAs in university halls of residence, and next year I’m going to be one. When the applications were going in, it occurred to me that it could be a bit of fun (and the salary covers the rent) and so I filled out the form and threw it in on the last possible morning.

There were three stages of application – the form application was first, followed by group interviews, followed by one-on-one, or rather three-on-one interviews. Somehow, I made it as far as the three-on-one and they seemed to like me (amazingly. I thought the interview was terrible and I had to run to it from a lab which I was desperately trying to finish early). Because they gave me a job for 2010!

This year I’ve lived at International House (I will post pictures of my lovely halls of residence at some stage) but next year I’ll be an RA at Huia Residence, which is just over a bridge from here, next to the medical school (very handy for me) and involves cooking your own food (darn). O, and it’s alcohol free. It’s very different to I. House, but I am looking forward to it.

Anyway. I have started collecting recipes for my year of doing my own food, and the first thing I did was to grab a pretty notebook to write them all in. I started it with nine cupcake recipes (good effort, huh?). And here it is.

My Huia recipe book.


(Huia, for any non-New Zealanders, is a type of bird. It’s black, iridescent, rather small, and very extinct.)

DSCF7128 DSCF7129

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • what am I doing?

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • pretties from the past


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers