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I love cheesecake, its one of my favorite desserts, being a savory kind of girl, it must be the cheese factor! Cheesecake for me has to be baked, the ones set with gelatin just aren’t the same. Heather from Love H sounds like my kinda of girl, when she gets a craving, a low fat substitute just won’t do!  She has perfected the measurements for an individual portion so you aren’t left with an entire cake saying “eat me” in your fridge! She has also included the recipe for the large cheesecake if you can’t resist…Vanessa


I couldn’t go past this Caramel cheesecake by Rachael from kiwi blog Made from Scratch. Vanessa and I caught up with Rachael for a coffee and a chat a while back and were so inspired by her enthusiasm for her blog and  and general loveliness, it was the push we needed to get our blog redesigned and back on track. So, many thanks Rachael! As well as her blog, she runs baking classes and recently started sharing her successful blogging secrets in Blogging Masterclasses at Studio 46 in Auckland (NZ). Ingrid

Posted on: August 4th, 2013 by Ingrid Opera 2 Comments


mac and cheese

Ingrid and I were talking tonight about macaroni and I queried why the kids prefer the cans of the stuff over homemade? We wondered if it was they way we make the sauce using a roux (flour + butter ) to thicken it. It seems Lucy from Hungry Cravings  has been doing her own research into finding the perfect mac n cheese recipe and even comments how making it with a roux never has the right creaminess. Her brilliant idea of using the starch from the pasta to thicken the sauce is awesome – why didn’t we think of that? She treats her recipe like a risotto so it does require attention and frequent stirring however ,the way she talks about it, I am sold!


I was so intrigued by Beth’s No macaroni, No cheese mac n cheese – what!!! um…no cheese….are you serious? that I just had to share. When Beth from food blog The kitchen minions  first heard about ‘nutritional yeast’, a deactivated yeast product that has a strong nutty, cheesy flavour, she decided she needed to try a healthy alternative to her favourite Truffle Mac n cheese. She uses Israeli couscous in place of macaroni and the yeast is…. omg… THE CHEESE! Now, I never diet (I probably should or at least be a little lighter with butter, oil, cheese, treats, fun stuff) but imagine if  this cheese without calories yeasty thingy really does taste like cheese – the possibilities are huge, cheese features high in my daily life. I can’t wait to find this ‘gold’ and start experimenting with it. Ingrid


Posted on: July 28th, 2013 by Ingrid Opera No Comments



I decided to look for the Korean marinade Bulgogi. I have tried it many a time at work when the Korean mums would bring it in for the kids shared lunches whilst the other kids bought in a packet of biscuits or chips. What do you think went first? – yep always the real food! Chow Divine cooks up delicious recipes with a Korean twist. Korean food seems to be slowly making a name for itself in sleepy old NZ so get ahead of the game and check out some Korean recipes. A coincidence about this recipe is that Korean mums prefer to use kiwifruit puree to tenderise the meat – Chow Divine is no exception! Vanessa 


Look at all the juicy bits in this marinade – it’s packed full of Mexican flavours – lime juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, red onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin and paprika. Jaclyn from Cooking Classy  used this marinaded skirt steak to make tacos for the family. I’m sold! Ingrid

Posted on: July 21st, 2013 by Ingrid Opera No Comments


Skirt steak

You wouldn’t normally think of Depot as a restaurant that serves up cheap cuts of meat but having tried their skirt steak a few months ago, I was hoping I would be able to find it online to share with you all. Al Brown discovered skirt steak in a little bistro in Montreal a few years back and here he is today serving it up at his funky laid back tapas style bistro. What amazes me about his recipe is that he marinates it for not hours but DAYS!!! He also suggests scoring it in a criss-cross pattern on both sides to help tenderise the meat – good tips!  I am sure the steak would be equally delicious without the eggplant sambal and cauiliflower baji and a good smother of your favourite mustard.

Now where can I get my hands on some skirt steak?

PS – Al Brown isn’t officially a blogger, more a chef, food writer, fisherman and TV presenter, not bad having that on your CV! His site shares heaps of other Al Brown recipes too Vanessa 

Rootbeer BBQ pork above-1

Pulled pork is so popular right now – it might take a ridiculous amount of time to cook it (8hrs) but like most slow cooked meats it’s so tender and melts in your mouth so it all becomes worth it at the end. At least your not slaving at the stove, only 15mins prep then its into a slow cooker and left to its own devices. I always turn to this Budget bytes blog when I need inspiration for some cheap eats, or I want to feel a bit self righteous, that I’m not indulging on eye fillet steak, and serving it to my kids Rhys (3.75) and Eliza 15months…yip, I do that! Not that the appreciation is there at all! This root beer pulled pork recipe is $13.54(US) / 17.40 (NZD) that serves 10! Even if it served 6, this is a cost effective family dish or perfect for entertaining with friends. Ingrid

Posted on: July 14th, 2013 by Ingrid Opera No Comments