Best hot, baked Florentine artichoke dip

Here is another winner recipe after researching countless baked spinach-artichoke recipes for a family- friendly holiday appetizer. Hot and bubbling straight from the oven with a lovely crispy topping.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 5.21.20 PM

makes 4 cups and is enough for 8 to 10 people

1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (12 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 heaped cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
3 large garlic cloves, squeezed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 & 1/2 cups French breadcrumbs (homemade)
2 tbsp butter, melted

Drain the spinach, press between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Combine the spinach, artichoke hearts and the next 5 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.
Spoon into a lightly greased 11″ by 7″ baking dish.
Combine the breadcrumbs and butter, sprinkle over the spinach mixture.
Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with assorted crackers or breadsticks.

Simple, stunning salmon tartare

On a hot day with a glass of champagne or Rose what could be more wonderful than this?

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 1.26.14 PM

Serves 4

8 oz fresh boneless wild salmon, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp good quality mayonnaise

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate until very cold before serving.

Turkey tonnato

Given I’m not using beef or veal in recipes, I have replaced the usual veal tonnato with turkey and it’s brilliant! Thank you to Giada de Laurentiis for this recipe.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.15.19 AM

2 pound turkey breast, skinless and boneless (Or you can be really lazy and use precooked thickly sliced turkey, (1/2 ” slices) then miss the cooking stage of the turkey completely)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tuna Sauce:
6 ounces canned white meat tuna, packed in olive oil, do not drain
1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy fillet, drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/3 cup Kraft Real, or Helmann’s Real mayonnaise. (Make it a good quality one)
Chopped parsley leaves, capers or lemon slices, for garnish

Preheat oven 375 F.

Season the turkey with salt, pepper and herbs. Coat with olive oil, place in a baking pan and pour the chicken broth around the turkey. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch slices, on an angle. Allow to sit in baking pan with juices as you make sauce.

In the bowl of a food processor add the tuna, anchovy, lemon juice and capers. Puree until creamy, about 1 minute. Pour the tuna mixture into a bowl and stir in the mayonnaise.

Place the slices of turkey on a platter and pour the tuna sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley.

The classic British shrimp cocktail sauce


I can hear some of you saying “Huh? Why a recipe for this?” Well, having lived in the US for 17 years, I feel the need to post this recipe, as a shrimp cocktail sauce here is a very acidic, tomato sauce, rather than the smooth, creamy, tangy sauce I was brought up with in New Zealand and the UK. Do try this very easy recipe, and simply boil a bunch of good sized shrimp in advance until just cooked, leave to cool and serve with this divine sauce and some shredded lettuce or curly lettuce underneath.

Serves 6

Cocktail sauce ingredients
1 cup of best quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
2 tsp Worcester sauce
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 drops of hot sauce
2lbs cooked medium sized shrimp, peeled and tails intact as it’s easier to pick them up.
lettuce shredded or curly lettuce like frisee and lemon wedges for serving

For the cocktail sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Toss in the shrimp and toss around in the sauce till they are coated.
Arrange the shredded lettuce in attractive glass dishes and put a pile of the sauced shrimp on top of the lettuce.
Garnish with a dusting of paprika and a wedge of lemon.

There! Now I feel better already!







Creamy ginger soy sauce

This is a great dressing for a fresh salad or as a sauce for your favorite Asian cuisine featuring meat, fish or chicken. It’s also divine as a dipping sauce for vegetables or shrimp.
Really easy to make and so exotic!

3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like too spicy)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup good quality mayonnaise

In a small bowl, combine and thoroughly mix the white wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, sugar, minced fresh ginger, cayenne pepper and black pepper.
Gradually whisk in the mayonnaise until completely blended.


Curried tuna salad to put in sandwiches or pita pockets


Such a divine  filling for sandwiches or even just wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

2 cans (about 6 oz each) solid light tuna packed in olive oil, well drained and broken into large chunks
1/4 cup drained sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp best quality curry powder
1/4 cup diced celery heart
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Granny Smith apple, unpeeled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently combine the tuna, jalapenos, mayonnaise, lime juice, curry powder, celery heart, red onion, raisins, apple, basil and salt and pepper to taste, in a medium bowl.
Serve with bread or pita pockets.

Deep fried beets with spicy mayonnaise


This will make any frown turn upside down!

Makes 2 servings (easily increased)

1lb beets (golden or red)
1 qt oil for deep frying
1/3 cup cornstarch or rice flour
Kosher salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or Japanese mayonnaise, which is a little sweeter)
1/4 tsp sriracha or sambal oelek (at Japanese stores or on Amazon)
furkake seasoning and /or shichimi togarashi seasoning (at Japanese stores or on Amazon)

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Trim the roots and stem ends off the beets and wrap them in aluminum foil.
Roast the beets for about 45 minutes to an hour or until tender.

Carefully unwrap the beets and remove the skins by rubbing with a paper towel, Cut them into rough cubes about 1 inch each.

Fill a Dutch oven or large stockpot with about 2 inches of oil, or use your electric deep fryer according to the instructions of the deep fryer. Get the temperature to 375 F.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels in preparation for the fried beets coming out of the hot oil.

Toss the beet chunks in the rice flour, or the cornstarch in a large mixing bowl, shaking the beets between your fingers to remove the excess flour.

Put the beets in the hot oil and fry until crispy and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Skin the beets out of the oil with a slotted wire spoon.

Sprinkle the beets with kosher salt, furikake and shichimi togarashi.

Whisk the mayonnaise with the samba oelek or sriracha and serve alongside the fried beets.

Sprinkle the mayonnaise with extra furkake and /or shichimi togarashi seasoning


Grilled peach, onion and bacon salad with buttermilk dressing

The peppery addition of arugula to this is lovely and spicy. With all the great summer peaches around, this is a winner. If the white peaches are looking better than the yellow, replace the onion with red onion for good color contrast.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 sup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
2 tbsp snipped chives
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1lb thickly sliced bacon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3lbs Vidalia onions, or other sweet onions, cut into 1 inch thick slabs
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
4 large, ripe peaches, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
2 – 3 cups baby arugula, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 F

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the sour cream, buttermilk, mint, parsley, chives and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Bake for about 25 mins, until caramelized. (the bacon will crisp as it cools). Let cool, then cut or break the bacon into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over a moderate heat, turning occasionally until softened and browned.
Separate the onions into rings.

Brush the peaches with olive oil and grill over a moderately high heat until tender, 2 minutes.
Transfer to a plate.

On a large serving platter, arrange the arugula in a layer. Top with the peaches, onions and bacon.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve


Lime ginger mayonnaise (to serve with cold poached salmon or other seafood)

This mayonnaise  is utterly easy and a superb flavor. Well worth doing and very unusual.

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup light, good quality mayonnaise
1/2 cup 2% plain yoghurt
grated rind of 1 fresh lime
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp freshly grated gingerroot
1 clove garlic

In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lime rind and juice, ginger and garlic.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or for up to 24 hours.


Tuna melt canapes

These are the grown up version of tuna melt! Delicious and very more-ish so make a lot.
Curry powder, raisins and chutney pair nicely with cheddar cheese in this dressed up version of “tuna melt” canapes. This recipe only serves 2 but it’s easily quadrupled!

2 -3 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
1&1/2 tbsp raisins
1tbsp mango chutney, chopped  (I use Major Grey brand)
1/2 tsp medium curry powder
1 x 5oz can tuna packed in oil, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste
2 slices good quality white bread or sourdough, crusts removed
2 thin square slices of mature cheddar cheese
8 x 1″ pieces of fresh chives, optional

Heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack about 10 inches from the heating element.
Combine the mayonnaise, raisins, chutney, curry and tuna in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cut each slice of bread and cheese into 4 triangles. Spoon the tuna mixture on top of the bread pieces and top with the cheese.

Broil the triangles until the cheese is melted and bubbly. About 3 to 5 minutes. garnish with the chives and serve with a good stiff drink!