Sunday 12 February 2023

Carrot and walnut cake

Carrot cake is a sweet and moist cake that is a popular dessert in many countries and is often enjoyed as a simple treat with a cup of coffee or tea. There are many variations of this cake, however I wanted to share my staple recipe, which is loved by my friends and family.  The carrot flavour isn't too intense (although you can add more carrots to the mix if you prefer a more intense flavour) and the icing recipe is also below.  The sponge is super moist and delicious. 

I recommend making 2 tiers to make it that extra bit more impressive.  For this you can either use 2 identical 18-20cm cake tins or if you only have 1 tin, then you can bae one layer at a time.  An electric whisk is also preferable (and will make the preparation super quick) but not essential. 


For the icing: 

  • 100g butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 300g icing sugar 
  • 100g soft/cream cheese 
For the cakes:
  • 270g self-raising flour 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 330g light brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 100g natural greek yoghurt 
  • 230ml vegetable oil 
  • 3-4 carrots (grated)
  • 1/2 orange skin zested
  • approx 100g walnuts 
  • a pinch of salt


  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees and line your cake tins with baking paper. 
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together with a pinch of salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable oil, 4 eggs, yoghurt and orange zest in a bowl and whisk. 
  4. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture.
  5. Add in the grated carrots and around 50g or half of the walnuts.
  6. Mix well and spread evenly between the two cake tins.  It is helpful to use a baking scale to ensure each layer will be the same size. 
  7. Bake for around 25 minutes and check it is cooked using a wooden skewer. Once baked, leave in the tins to cool down. 
  1. Ensure the butter is softened and beat it together with the icing sugar before adding 50% of the cream cheese.  Once the cheese is added, beat again before adding the rest of the cheese.  
  2. Use half of the icing in the middle of the two cake layers and the other half to cover the top of the cake.  Finish by adding some walnuts for decoration. 



Saturday 11 February 2023

Maori Fry Bread (Paraoa Parai)

Today I'm sharing my recipe for this traditional Maori fry bread, also known as "rewena bread". This is a traditional bread recipe that originates from my ancestors, the native Maori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). It's a simple bread that has been a staple in Maori cuisine for generations. In addition to its cultural significance, this bread is also a popular street food and is often sold at fairs / festivals / markets in NZ.

These mini bread pieces are crispy on the outside and soft inside. They are delicious on their own of with savory or sweet toppings such as butter, jam, honey or cheese. They can also be used as a base for sandwiches and burgers or as a side to any stew or soup.

My recipe makes around 20-25 pieces 


  • 3/4 cup of boiling Water
  • 1 cup chilled Milk (ideally dairy milk but can be substituted) 
  • 1 tbsp dried active yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp oil (ideally vegetable oil but can be substituted for other frying oils) 
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 4-4 ½ cups of flour (ideally white flour but can use gluten free)
  • More oil for frying


  1. Combine the boiling water and chilled milk in a large bowl. 
  2. Test temperature with finger to make sure it's not too hot (will kill yeast), or too cold (yeast won't activate).
  3. If okay, add sugar, oil, and yeast, and stir.  Set aside somewhere warm for around 20 minutes until the mixture bubbles.
  4. Once bubbled, add 4 cups of flour and the salt and fold together gently, being careful not to overmix. Add more flour if it's still too sticky.
  5. Gently knead together for 15 seconds into a ball, then leave in bowl, covered with a tea towel.  Leave to proof somewhere warm for around 1 hour until the ball doubles in size.
  6. Remove the risen dough ball from the bowl onto a lightly floured bench (see photo below). 
  7. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle, around 2cm thick before cutting into roughly 6cmx6cm squares. This should make around 24 pieces.
  8. Spread the small pieces out onto a floured surface and cover them with a tea towel and leave to proof for another 15 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, fill a medium size pot with oil to around 20cm height and 170°C. To check the oil is hot, place the end of a wooden spoon in the oil, if the oil bubbles then it is hot enough.  Make sure the oil isn't too hot however, as the inside of the bread pieces won't cook.
  10. Cook the pieces in batches.  Once a batch is cooked, drain them on a paper towel and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Juicy fried fish tacos with salsa and pickled red onions

Fish tacos are packed full of fresh and flavourful ingredients.  They are one of my favourite dishes to order at a Mexican restaurant and so I thought I would finally have a go at making them myself. I always assumed they would be extremely complex because of the various flavours and components, however this recipe was straightforward and extremely fresh, filling and delicious. 

For the pico de gallo salsa:
  • 4 large tomatoes (chopped up as small as possible)
  • 1 small red onion  (also chopped up as small as possible) 
  • a handful of fresh coriander, or as much as you would like (chopped)
  • fresh lime juice 
For the pickled onions:
  • 1 red onion (chopped into thin strips)
  • fresh lime juice 
  • 1 tbsp sea salt 
  • fresh chilli or chilli flakes 
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano 
For the fish:
  • Approx 150g cod fillet, cut into 3-4cm strips 
  • 140g plain flour 
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tsp garlic salt 
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp mustard 

  • 1 litre vegetable oil (for frying)
  • a packet of small tortillas 
  • iceberg lettuce (finely chopped for serving)
  • lime wedges 


Pico de Gallo salsa - finely chop the tomatoes, onion and coriander and toss in a bowl with the lime juice and salt.

Pickled onions - chop the onions into strips and cover in salt. Leave to sit for 10 minutes or as long as possible before rinsing and draining the onion.  Cover in lime juice, oregano, and a pinch of salt and chilli. 

Fried fish - for the batter, mix together the flour, baking powder, garlic salt, oregano and black pepper before adding 180ml of water, together with the egg and mustard. Keep mixing until all of the ingredients are combined and the batter is thick.

Dry your fish with some kitchen paper and coat in a tiny bit of flour to ensure that the batter will stick.  

Coat all of the pieces of fish in the batter.

Pour oil into a pot up to around 15cm high and wait for it to heat up.  Once heated, add batches of your fish to the oil and deep fry for around 3-4 minutes until golden.  Ensure that you do not add too many pieces at once of they will stick together. 

Warn your tortillas on a pan or in the microwave before covering in mayo and adding your fish, salsa, onions and some more lime juice. 

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