Black Pepper Hasselback Potatoes


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This is a great and tasty side and makes a nice elegant potato dish.  They are easy to make and just take a small amount of preparation.  It is worth it when you see the result.

We made them to serve with a nice oven baked steak and it worked really well.

All prepped and ready to go into the oven:IMG_9621

Serves 2


2 large potatoes
2½ teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt


Heat oven to 200C / 400F
The potato must be sliced into 3mm slices but only 3/4 of the way through.  To help with this process we used a skewer to prevent slicing all the way through
Repeat with all the potatoes
Roughly grind the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar.  We mixed in 3 different kinds of peppercorns (regular black pepper, pink peppercorns and penya peppercorns) to make it interesting.
Melt the butter and oil in a roasting tin
Once sizzling, add the potatoes
Toss well so that all the potatoes get coated in the fat, then season well with salt and three quarters of the freshly ground pepper
Roast on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hr-1 hr 15 minutess until golden and tender
Scatter over the remaining pepper to serve



White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Biscuits


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This is my next update while Nadia is recovering.  This time we decided for me to do something sweet.  These biscuits looked great so here is our version.

They actually turned out really well.  I took some to my French classes and they were well received too 🙂


Makes 32 biscuits


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate


Preheat oven to 175C / 350 F
a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture.
Mix in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate.
I used a small ice cream scoop to form each biscuit and placed it onto an ungreased tray
Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Enjoy! (we did)




Spicy seafood pasta


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As you may have read Nadia has just gone through carpal tunnel surgery on her left hand so this is Stuart, her husband and trusty assistant, with my first guest blog post.  I don’t know how many of these I will do but it might be interesting for some and maybe especially for anyone who isn’t the primary cook in the household.  I always try and help prep things but Nadia is in charge.  I will give my opinions from the viewpoint of someone who doesn’t do this often other than helping.

This recipe is inspired from a Jamie Oliver recipe.  I needed something to work from but it also has a few changes and my insights.

This recipe is just for two people so you can adjust it accordingly.  I went and did the shopping and managed to get the correct items using my best French.


The recipe includes crab meat but we really didn’t think that it added anything to the dish.  In my opinion you either should leave it out or add quite a bit more to make sure that you can really taste it.

The bucatini seems to be a really good match for this dish so I think it is well worth making sure you get this pasta.

Serves 2

Sauce (this might make a bit more sauce than some people would like)

1 800g / 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan
Saute garlic for 30 seconds
Add tomatoes
Bring to a boil then cover, simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce thickens up (about 45-60 mins)

Main dish

Here are the main ingredients ready to get started:



200g / 7oz crab meat (cooked)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (to taste)
250g / 9oz mussels
150g / 5.5oz calamari/squid
200g / 7oz shrimp
bucatini (85g / 3oz pp uncooked)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped



You should have already prepared the sauce since that takes time (see above)
Clean and beard the mussels
We had a whole squid so you remove the head and discard.  Clean the remainder thoroughly and cut into small rings.
Use a large sauce pan with plenty of water.  Heat it until boiling then add the bucatini.  Let it boil for about 8 minutes until it is al dente.
A few minutes before the pasta is ready heat uncovered the butter, crushed garlic and oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan
Add the shrimp, crab meat, calamari/squid and mussels
Cook them all on high heat, with a lid on the pan, shaking once or twice for about 4 minutes (all mussels should be opened)
Add the tomato sauce into the seafood
Strain the bucatini and add to the pan with the seafood and sauce
Stir everything up well
Sprinkle with some parsley and oregano