Hot Artichoke Dip

Kitchen – Oven


  • 1 tin artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • Pepper to taste


  • Hand held blender
  • Terracotta pot
  • Tin opener


Heat oven to 275.

Drain the artichoke hearts and chop roughly.

Add mayonnaise and blend until smooth.

Mix in parmesan and add pepper.

Place in terracotta pot, cover with lid or tin foil.

Place in oven for 25 mins. Remove lid or foil and replace in oven for another 10 mins to brown.


Serve hot with crusty bread and/or corn chips.

The dip is very rich and so a small amount will serve 8 to 10 as a starter or side dish.

Drying fish in Minerva Reef

June 2007 and we left New Zealand to head to Fiji. We had waited for 3 weeks for the right weather so we grabbed the first ‘window’ and headed north. Ten days later and we were still 400 miles from Fiji but only 80 miles from Minerva Reef so we headed there to rest up and wait for some decent wind.

Minerva Reef is a magical place. A dormant underwater volcano chain 600 miles north of NZ, 350 miles south of Tonga and Fiji. North Minerva is about five miles across and barely breaks the surface of the water at low tide. There is a small pass in the volcano wall – big enough to sail through. Inside the wall is around 35 feet deep, outside the drop off is over 1,000 feet.

We sailed through the pass and headed to the south of the volcano, anchoring in 25 feet around 200 feet from the southern wall. After 2 days we spotted another sail boat who headed around to the pass and anchored about half a mile away. 10 minutes later we had a call on the radio – did we want some wahoo? The skipper headed over in our inflatable and came back half an hour later with half of a 3 foot wahoo – much too much for us to eat so, without a freezer the only answer was to dry the fish. Recipe to follow.

Beetroot, lentil and mandarin salad

Kitchen – No cooking


  • 1 tin beetroot
  • 1 tin lentils
  • 1 small tin mandarins
  • Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Salad servers


Open and drain the tin of beetroot, cut into halves or quarters if required. Open tin of lentils and rinse and drain thoroughly. Add to beetroot. Open tin of mandarins and drain. Add to mixing bowl. Add in vinegar – if you have flavoured vinegar – raspberry or balsamic vinegars work well in this recipe. Season with salt and pepper.


Chill and serve as a side dish or lunch. Goes well with feta cheese.

Great to take to a pot luck.

Feeding the crowd

This blog is not written by, or for, those who delight in creating gourmet dinners. I am a sociable creature though and like to get together with friends.

My favourite solution is to plan for grazing. Shared food is sociable, people can move about and mingle and all you really need is a few core dishes then little ‘asides’.

The foundations for me are hummus and flatbread. Then, if I can get them, I will add fresh carrots and celery cut into sticks. Gherkins cut lengthways, a jar of sundried tomatoes, olives, nuts.

If the crowd is a little larger I add in a couple of other dips, red bean dip and Tzatziki, some crisps and crackers. Usually people will bring along a dish to share so there is always more than enough to eat.

Beans Bonanza

Kitchen – Hob


  • 1 tin baby potatoes
  • 1 large tin baked beans
  • 1 small tin kidney beans
  • Optional – veggie sausage
  • Tomato paste
  • 1 tin chopped tomato
  • Hot English Mustard
  • Worcester sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Celery


  • Wok or large frying pan
  • Tin opener
  • Small sharp knife
  • Wooden spoon


Peel and chop garlic, onion and celery.

Place one tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan.

Add garlic to cold oil and heat the pan. When garlic begins to brown add the onion and celery and fry until they start to soften. If you are adding in veggie sausage – cut to bite size and add to the pan – fry until brown on all sides.

Open tins of beans, tomato and potato – rinse the kidney beans thoroughly.

Add potatoes and stir to cover with oil. Fry until browning. Add in beans and tomatoes and tomato paste, two teaspoons of Worcester sauce and one heaped teaspoon of hot English mustard.

Stir thoroughly and lower heat. Simmer for 10 minutes and remove from heat.


Serve in a bowl. Optional – add a sprinkle of parmesan.

This is a hearty dish that can be increased to large proportions to serve a crowd. Chilli can be added with the garlic to add heat.

Lunch for Nepal

Recently we held a lunch at work to raise money to help the people of Nepal following the earthquakes that have caused so much damage and destruction.

Using the recipes in this blog I took along hummus, red bean dip, tzatziki and veggie sausage rolls.

The team is multi-cultural and the food reflected this with Yorkshire pudding and gravy, wontons, pasta, chicken pie, curried veggie patties in tamarind and coriander chutneys, cup cakes and gulab jamun.

When you are miles from the grocer