Comfort Winter Food: Foodies Share Fave Recipes

31st May 2019

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Winter is just around the corner! It is also a great time for cooking yummy comforting foods and eating, so we asked three foodies to share some warming recipes.


Amelia Ferrier is the 18-year-old baker behind Melie's Kitchen, which has more than 10,000 Instagram followers.

How much of your success do you attribute to social media? 

It sounds quite dramatic, but I honestly don't think I would be where I am today with my baking if it wasn't for Instagram. I started posting food pictures quite a few years back, and then slowly my Instagram developed into just a baking account as my number of followers grew. It gave people easy access to see the baking that I do, and what I sell for orders.

I imagine you're baking more than ever now. Does it become less enjoyable the more you do it? 

No not at all really! I enjoy any time that I get in the kitchen, it allows me to let my creative juices flow and relieves all my stress. Because I'm constantly inventing new flavours and making new things, it never gets boring and repetitive, so I always enjoy it.

You left school and went to uni after sixth form. Why? 

It was quite spontaneous actually, I had no intention of going to uni until about four weeks before semester started. I did enjoy school and both schools that I attended were super supportive of my baking. I thought that if I could get into uni a year early, I might as well just go for it, as it meant I could be doing courses that directly relate to what I hope to do in the future. I'm studying food science.

You turned 18 this year. What kind of cake did you have? 

My mother actually made my 18th birthday cake. She made a delicious, dense chocolate and beetroot cake with creme fraiche icing and dried wild rose petals on top. It was so yummy and was nice to have someone make me a cake for once!


These chocolate bars consist of a crunchy puffed rice base, peanut butter fudge and a soft, fluffy marshmallow with cocoa swirled through it. They taste a bit like a peanut butter cup and a MallowPuff combined into one heavenly mouthful. There is something really satisfying about making your own chocolate bars, especially because they taste ten times better than the ones you buy! I like to wrap mine up in baking paper, making cute little gifts. Sometimes I don't coat these in chocolate so they're more like a slice instead.

For the puffed rice base

2 cups puffed ricePhoto credit: Tam West

¼ cup caster sugar

35g honey

35g golden syrup

70g butter

1 Tbsp milk

¼ tsp salt

For the peanut butter fudge

¾ cup icing sugar

25g butter, cubed

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup cream

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

For the cocoa swirled marshmallow

4 Tbsp cold water

1½ tsp powdered gelatine

½ cup caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 Tbsp premium Dutch cocoa powder, sifted

To decorate

250g dark chocolate (50% cocoa), roughly chopped

⅓ cup roasted salted peanuts, finely chopped

flaky sea salt (optional)

Grease a 20cm square slice tin and line with baking paper. Line a chopping board with baking paper. Set aside.

To make the puffed rice base, put the puffed rice in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat, stir together the sugar, honey, golden syrup, butter, milk and salt, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the puffed rice. Quickly fold into the puffed rice and spoon into the prepared tin. Press down firmly with a spoon or the base of a measuring cup, making sure the surface is level. Refrigerate while you make the peanut butter fudge.

To make the peanut butter fudge, put the icing sugar in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cream and salt, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the peanut butter. Pour the mixture over the icing sugar and stir thoroughly to combine. Pour over the puffed rice base and spread out evenly. Gently tap the tin against the bench a few times to level out the surface. Chill in the freezer while you make the cocoa-swirled marshmallow.

To make the cocoa-swirled marshmallow, put half of the water into a small bowl. Sprinkle over the gelatine and set aside. Combine the sugar and remaining water in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the gelatine and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add salt. Whisk for about 4–5 minutes, until soft and doubled in volume. Fold in the cocoa powder to create a marbled effect. Spread over the peanut butter fudge and leave to set in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until the marshmallow is firm enough to hold its shape when cut.

Remove the slice from the tin and peel off the baking paper. Using a knife dipped in hot water, slice into bars roughly 4cm x 10cm. Refrigerate while you melt the chocolate.

Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until fully melted. Remove from the heat and pour into a small but deep bowl. Dip each bar into the melted chocolate, using two forks to help lower them in and out of it. Lift each bar out and carefully tap against the side of the bowl to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Place on the prepared chopping board and carefully sprinkle over the chopped peanuts and a little salt, if desired, down the middle of the bar. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until the chocolate has set.

If stored in an airtight container in the fridge, these bars will keep for up to a week.

Extracted from Melie's Kitchen by Amelia Ferrier (Random House NZ, RRP $40.00).


A former pastry chef, Emma Galloway was forced to ditch gluten for her health, and now writes the popular food blog My Darling Lemon Thyme.

You were a pastry chef for years. How did it take you so long to realise you were gluten intolerant? 

It wasn't until my body was under the added strain of pregnancy that my symptoms really became severe enough to notice. Also, back in the 80s and 90s there really wasn't that much information available around food intolerances and what to look out for.

Tell me about your earliest food memories growing up on a vegetable farm. 

I remember hiding in between the rows of corn my parents grew, picking out the sweet crunchy kernels from the corn in my hand and popping them straight into my mouth. I would've been about 8 or 9 and still, to this day, love eating raw corn.

You're a lifelong vegetarian, but have you ever been tempted to eat meat? 

When my youngest was a baby and my diet basically consisted of quinoa and roasted vegetables due to food intolerances, I was once tempted to try chicken, purely because I felt like I was fading away and didn't have enough energy to sustain breastfeeding. But the mental-barrier of a lifelong vegetarian prevented me from actually being able to do so. The only dish that's ever made me wish I ate meat is pho – the Vietnamese noodle broth made with beef. This one bowl contains everything I love about food – all at once nourishing, spicy, herbaceous and fresh – and while I do make a vegetarian version, I'm sure it's got nothing on the real deal.

Why should people give gluten-free food a chance? 

I often get asked if eating gluten-free will make you healthier and the short answer is no, not always. If you were to simply replace wheat-based products with store-bought 'gluten-free' versions, which are often highly processed and contain all manner of additives and preservatives, then no, eating gluten-free will not make you any healthier. If instead, you embrace cooking from scratch using real-food ingredients, eat with the seasons and as locally as possible, then absolutely you can live a healthier life. And this goes for if you eat gluten-free or not.


Serves 4 / Gluten-free / Dairy-free and vegan

I'm convinced that chickpea flour, otherwise known as chana or besan flour, is one of the world's most versatile ingredients. Not only does it add a special touch to savoury pastry, chickpea polenta, and crepes, it also makes beautiful fritters without the need for any other flour. And its high protein content means you can get away without even having to add eggs! Mum used to coat large chunks of lightly steamed cauliflower in a fennel-seed flecked batter, before frying until crisp. We didn't have these often, but man it was a good day when we did. The memory of these treats is the inspiration for these simple, spiced fritters. We often eat them plain, straight from the pan when still crisp, but the mint and coriander sauce is well worth making to add a little freshness. Find chickpea flour at your local health food store or Indian grocer (where it's incredibly well-priced).


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or ghee + extra, for frying

2 cloves garlic, finely choppedPhoto credit : Emma Galloway

2 tsp finely grated ginger

400g (1/4 large) cauliflower, roughly chopped into 1cm pieces (approx. 2 scant cups once chopped)

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly toasted and roughly ground

110g (1 cup) chickpea (chana or besan) flour

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda, sifted 

Mint and coriander sauce

Big handful each of mint leaves, coriander leaves and tender stems (approx. 2 cups total)

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1 long green chilli, deseeded

1 small clove garlic, peeled

Pinch of unrefined raw sugar

1 Tbsp coconut milk or natural plain yoghurt

Heat oil or ghee in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir for 20-30 seconds until fragrant. Add chopped cauliflower and fennel seeds and continue to cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring continuously, until tender and just starting to colour. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Place chickpea flour, turmeric, salt and baking soda in a bowl, and whisk to combine before adding 125ml (1/2 cup) cold water and whisking to form a thick batter. Set aside until cauliflower is cool. Mix cauliflower into batter.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add a good few glugs of extra-virgin olive oil. Cook large tablespoonfuls of batter in batches, pressing the batter out to form thin fritters (the batter will seem a tad thick, that's okay). Cook until golden on the underside and bubbles appear on the surface. Flip and cook for a further minute or until cooked through. Remove from pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Cook remaining batter.

To make sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender along with 2-3 tablespoons water, a good pinch of fine sea salt and blend on high until smooth-ish. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot fritters with mint and coriander sauce on the side.

Extracted from A Year in My Real Food Kitchen by Emma Galloway (HarperCollins NZ, RRP $44.99).


Alexandra Tylee lives in Poukawa, southwest of Havelock North where, for the last decade, she has run the local institution Pipi Café.

Has moving to Poukawa changed the way you think about food? 

Yes, I thought before living here that I ate only what was in season and local. But when you have to drive past numerous vegetable and fruit stalls every day, that takes on a whole other meaning.

What has 10 years of running Pipi taught you about yourself? 

I have learnt that it is not about me. That no matter how much I would like to, I cannot control everything. Even though I might have a great plan for how the day is going to go, it may have a different plan entirely. And the only way to stay or at least give the appearance that you are sane is to not hold on too tightly to outcomes.

How has being a mother shaped your approach to cooking? 

I guess I am more practical and tactical. As a mother you have to cook at least one, and maybe three, meals a day for the same people. Those people are not necessarily sympathetic to the fact that you might have very little time or puff. And they will always tell you if for some reason the meal does not excite every aspect of their six senses. When I am cooking for my sons, it is all about maximising goodness without compromising flavour. I read labels much more then I used to.

Tell us about your most memorable meal. 

It was at a tiny restaurant in Florence. Beef consommé with tortellini, followed by spicy, buttery chicken with beans, then raspberries picked that morning from the hills around Florence. The food was amazing, very authentic and seemed to aptly sum up the area and the culture. The Italians are very good at creating just the right balance of drama, ceremony and understated elegance.

It's the end of a long day and you're exhausted. What's your go-to meal? 

I throw organic chicken drumsticks, loads and loads of garlic – you don't even want to peel it – and pumpkin into an oven dish, swirl it all around with olive oil, and then let it all slowly caramelise in the oven. All you need with it is a green salad and bingo, that's it, dinner.


Serves 4

If the Greek gods had a super-food I think this soup would have been it. I can imagine them all sitting up there on their golden thrones in the clouds, taking delicate sips of this soup and talking about how Plato and Aristotle were getting on. Yes? Who knows. Anyway, you can easily have it for your next meal, it is so simple and so delicious. And when someone next has a cold or just feels a little off-colour, make them this and whammo! I predict a rapid recovery.

For the soupPhoto credit: Richard Brimer

2 litres free-range or organic chicken stock

400g potatoes, peeled and chopped into smallish pieces

200g whole peeled garlic cloves

flaky salt to taste

good grind of black pepper

To serve

1 loaf of good European-style bread

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

2 whole cloves garlic, peeled

½ handful of parsley, finely chopped

Parmesan or Gruyère to serve (optional)

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan, then add the potato and garlic and cook for 15-20 minutes until completely soft. Now put this mix into a blender and whiz until smooth, doing this in batches if you need to. Season with salt and pepper; how much really depends on how salty your chicken stock is.

To serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the bread into chunky slices, allowing a couple of slices per person. Brush the slices with oil on both sides and put in the oven until golden brown and toasted. When the bread slices are done, take them out and rub both sides with some raw garlic. Now put a slice of toast in the bottom of each bowl, pouring hot soup over to serve.

Sprinkle each bowl with chopped parsley and, if you like cheese, now would be a good time to grate some Parmesan or Gruyere on top of your soup.

Serves 4

For most people this time of year means starting to light the fire, making soup, getting out your big woollen coat... I don't know, maybe planning a warm holiday or doing that 2000-piece jigsaw you have always been meaning to. Well, for us, May to July means a volley of gunfire and ducks speeding overhead trying to find a safe place to land. I like ducks, especially wild country ducks, and I think if I had to choose a side it would be theirs.

Farmed duck can be something very delightful if cooked slowly and with care.

And they do lend themselves to being teamed with all sorts of other fruit and veges that are around about now. So even though one can eat duck at any time of the year, let's follow our camouflage-wearing, guns-blazing friends' lead and feast on duck in early winter.

1 Tbsp light olive oilPhoto credit: Richard Brimer

4 duck leg and thigh cuts

4 rashers bacon

½ tsp flaky salt

good grind of black pepper

4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut in half

2 good handfuls of rocket

½ head of radicchio, leaves torn

3 medium-sized pomegranates

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Pour the oil into a medium-sized roasting tray and put the duck pieces in, wrapping the bacon over and around each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then cover with tin foil and put into the oven. After half an hour take the foil off, and continue to cook in the oven. After an hour take the dish out of the oven and place the potatoes around the duck, turning the potatoes over so they become covered in the fat that has oozed out of the birds. Now return the dish to the oven for about 1 more hour. What you want to achieve is lovely crispy cooked potatoes, and tender, tender duck meat with a crispy skin. You will need to turn the potatoes every so often so they brown evenly. It may take a little more than 2 hours, or less, depending on your oven.

When the duck is done and you are ready to eat, place the duck and potatoes on a serving platter, then poke the rocket and radicchio around and under them. Cut the pomegranates in half and squeeze the juice and seeds over the duck. Check for seasoning.

Extracted from Pipi at Home by Alexandra Tylee (Random House NZ, RRP $65.00).


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