Category Archives: Herbs


Manawa Honey Turmeric Chicken Skewers

Chicken-skewers (1)Serves 4


2 tbsps Manawa Honey
6 chicken thighs cubed, deboned, skin-on
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
½ tsp cumin
Scant 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to season
1 tbsp oil of choice
8 bamboo skewers

In a medium sized bowl add the garlic, Manawa honey, lemon juice, spices, pepper and salt. Combine well and then add the chicken and turn to cover all the chicken pieces. Cover and rest in fridge for 2 hours.

Soak bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour. About 30 minutes before heating the grill, remove the chicken from the fridge and let sit at room temperature.

Thread the chicken on the skewers, packing tightly together. Grill on bbq over medium heat, turning occasionally until cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Herb Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce

20767787_1513524002069579_4701809300335231268_nA classic dinner favourite that can be made ahead of time and re-heated when its time for dinner. Any leftovers are great for lunch the next day or as a brunch on Sunday morning with a nice seasonal salad on the side.



1/3 cup Fogdog crumb (use gluten free as required)
2 tbsp olive
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 tsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, lightly chopped (if using dried, 1/3 tsp of each)
1 small to medium carrot, grated
500g lamb, beef or pork mince
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup sharp cheese of choice
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp each fresh rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme, lightly chopped (if using dried, 1/3 tsp of each)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil
1-2 whole dried chillies (optional)


In a large bowl combine all of the meatloaf ingredients and combine well. Roll into shape, cover and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

In a pot heat the oil on the stove on medium and add the onion. Cook the onion for 5-10 minutes until they are soft. Add the garlic and dried chillies and cook stirring for another 2-3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the tomato, paste herbs and stock. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce can be made ahead and stored, sealed in the fridge for a couple of days until needed.

Take the meatloaf from the fridge and rest for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 170C. Place the loaf in a high sided oven dish and cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove any fats and oils that have come out of the loaf.

Cover with the sauce and cook in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Remove and rest for 5 minutes and serve with your choice of sides.

Roasted Lamb Leg or Shoulder Herb Crumbed

F-Dog-Lamb_CrmMy goto Gluten-free crumb is made by Fogdog here in New Zealand. Its ideal for this recipe and carries the fresh herb flavour so well. Its like a taste of spring in the middle of winter.

2 cups of Fogdog GF Breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Fogdog-Gluten-Free-Breadcrumbs-21/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 lamb leg or shoulder roast, about 2kg
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup Dijon mustard
2 onions, quartered
Salt and pepper to season


The crumb

In a medium sized bowl combine together the Fogdog GF crumbs, parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Let rest for a few minutes and give the crumb another toss.

Now drizzle with 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil and toss until combined well. Rest on your bench for a 30 minutes and use.

Preheat the oven to 220℃.

Place the onions and rosemary into the bottom of a large heavy based ovenproof dish.

Season the lamb leg with salt and pepper. Coat with a light, even covering of mustard and place into the dish. Press the herb crumb mix on to the top of the lamb. Cover with a lid and place in the oven.

Cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 150℃ and continue to cook for 2 ½ hours.

Remove lid from the dish and cook for a final 15-30 minutes.

Remove the lamb from the oven and allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes.

Light Chicken Broth Style Stew

Light-Chicken-Stew-webI love this light and tasty chicken stew. The herbs impart a fresh taste to the meat and it 


8 cups water

1 medium to large whole chicken, neck and giblets removed from the cavity if they are in there

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 medium celery stalks, sliced

1 large onion, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

Zest of a small lemon

1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from stalk

½ tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine

1 bay leaf 


Place the whole chicken in a large slow cooker, add the water and cook on low until the chicken is falling off the bone. (About 8 hours on low). Once cooked remove the chicken out of the cooker and rest on a large plate. 

Place the carrots, celery, onion, herbs, zest and bay leaf in the slow cooker fluids and cook on high until tender, about 3 hours. 

When the chicken is cool enough to handle but still warm shred the meat into bite-sized pieces (discard the skin, cartilage, and bones), refrigerate until needed. 

Return the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker and cook on high till its all warmed through, about 30 minutes. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed, remove the bay leaf and serve in warmed bowls.

Easy Herb Roast Lamb Leg

Herb-Lamb-roast-webThis is my fall back lamb leg roast recipe. Its quick and easy to prep and I often use it to make pulled lamb. 

The juices from the lag roasting make a wonderful base for a tasty gravy. 

Serves 4-6


1.8 kg (4 lb) Leg of lamb 

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced lengthways into 24 slivers

2-3 stems Rosemary, cut into 24 pieces (preferably with thick, mature stems)

2 onions, peeled and cut in half

Several sprigs fresh thyme

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

½ cup stock (broth) of choice. I use chicken.


Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C (375F). 

Rub the olive oil all over the lamb leg and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Make 24 small but deep slits all over the leg of lamb, spacing them out evenly.

Insert 1 garlic sliver and 1 rosemary piece into each slit and season generously with salt and pepper.  

Place the cut onion halves and thyme in the roasting tray and position the leg of lamb on top, making sure it is stable and add the stock to the base of the tray. 

Cover the tray loosely with foil and cook for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes, uncovered.  The lamb will be well done; cook for less time for medium well or medium rare.  

Remove from the oven and cover again with foil and let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

BBQ Southern Mediterranean Lamb Kebabs

Med-Lamb-kab-webThis is a very quick and easy BBQ recipe to bring together. Simple flavours that will impress family and friends. 


2kg (4.4lb) boned shoulder of lamb

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 large lemon, juiced plus wedges to serve

Zest of one lemon

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Smoked paprika for sprinkling

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season 


Trim excess fat off the lamb and cut into bite-sized pieces. 

Add the diced lamb into a large bowl with the oregano, lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, 2 tsps salt and some black pepper. Mix well to combine, cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for about an hour. You can leave it longer if you like. 

Preheat the barbecue. Thread the lamb onto metal skewers. You can use bamboo skewers which have been soaked for a couple of hours in cold water. 

Cook on the hot barbecue, turning until browned on the outside but still juicy in the centre, about 5 minutes for each skewer. Sprinkle with a pinch of paprika and a squeeze of lemon juice to serve.

Juicy Cheery Tomato Bites

Classic-Tomato-webI have mentioned many times before that Italian and Sicilian food is based in simple flavours that work well together and don’t need any complication with unnecessary additions just to bulk dishes as we see in so many western countries. 

This side is a classic that has not changed in generations and can be made in a few minutes. Resting in the fridge will allow this wonderful tomato dish develop its full depth of flavour. 

There are two main flavour tastes that I cover in this recipe. 

As a side for 4-6 


600g (20oz) Cheery tomatoes

1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalks

1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

Balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Olive oil to drizzle

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 


Slice the cheery tomatoes in half and place them in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the tomatoes with fresh thyme leaves and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Mix together, cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour for added flavour. 

Pre-heat oven to 200 C (400 F). 

On a lined flat baking tray place the tomatoes flesh side up. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 5-8 minutes to soften them. Do not over cook. 

Remove from the oven and place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the diced basil leaves. Serve warm or cool.

Baked Eggplant Snacks

Eggplant-Snacks-webIn Sicily eggplant is one of the most eaten vegetables. Match it with some cheese and other topping and you have wonderful yummy snacks. 

In the south of Italy pizza topping are kept to just a few ingredients so the individual flavours can be experienced and this recipe is an example of this. 

If you want longer versions cut the eggplant long ways and follow the same process detailed below. 


1 large eggplant
1/2 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 400g (16 oz) fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, juice removed (for canned tomatoes)
100g (4oz) about 5 spring onions (green onions), white parts only
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh oregano 
1 tsp smoked paprika
100g (4 oz) fresh mozzarella
a few shavings parmesan
a few sliced olives
Fresh chopped basil leaves 


Slice the eggplant into 7mm (1/4-inch) thick slices. Place them on a flat surface and sprinkle with coarse salt. This will draw out some of the moisture that is in the eggplant. Let sit for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Pat the slices dry on both sides with paper towel, place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender on the inside, but still holding together. 

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce: chop the onions and garlic separately. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, season with salt, pepper and the paprika, and simmer for 15 -20 minutes, until it has thickened. 

When you are ready to top the eggplant preheat oven to 190 C (400 F). Slice the mozzarella and olives into very thin slivers. Spread 1 tbsp tomato sauce on top of each eggplant slice, add a sliver of mozzarella, a few parmesan shavings, a few olive slices, and freshly cracked pepper. Bake 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. 

Top, garnish with some fresh chopped basil and serve warm.


Herb Grilled Chicken Tenders

Chicken-on-stick-webThis is a great starter or as a snack. The fresh herbs gives the chicken a wonderful flavour and will get your mouth watering as you smell them cooking. 


500g (1.1lb) chicken tenderloins

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

2 cloves garlic, pealed and chopped fine

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

2 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Fresh ground black pepper

Bamboo skewers 


2 litres (8 cups) water

¼ cup sea salt

Juice of 2 oranges

1 lemon sliced

1 tsp pepper corns

2 bay leaves 


Prepare the brine by adding the salt to the water in a large bowl and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the chicken and the rest of the ingredients, cover and rest in the fridge for 1 hour. 

After 1 hour remove the bowl and remove the chicken from the brine. Wash the chicken under cold water and pat dry well. 

Using a medium bowl add the chicken and season with pepper and mix well. You do not need to salt at all. 

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover and rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours. 

While the chicken is resting soak the bamboo skewers for 1-2 hours so they won’t burn under the grill. 

Remove the chicken from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking to alow the meat to come to room temperature. 

Pre-heat grill or BBQ on medium high. 

Put each tenderloin on a skewer and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Once cooked serve straight away.

Perfect Herb Roasted Chicken Breast

Herbed-Chicken-Breasts-webMany people shy away from cooking/baking chicken breast due to the ease that it can dry out. My safeguard to ensure that it does not dry out during cooking is to brine the breasts for 1 hour. 

Brining hydrates the breast meat and we can also infuse the meat with herb flavours with ease. I use this method for whole chicken and turkey’s as well. You can find this process at this link. 

You can also use small turkey breasts for this recipe. 

Serves 4 



4 litres (1 gallon) cold water in a large bowl

2 heaped tbsps sea salt

Juice from 2 oranges

Rind from 1 orange

1 large lemon, sliced

4 cloves garlic, pealed

¼ tsp whole pepper corns

1 bay leaf

1 large sprig of fresh thyme and rosemary 


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 tbsp olive or coconut oil

1 ½ tsp dried rosemary

1 ½ tsp dried thyme

1 ½ tsp dried oregano

1 ½ tsp dried parsley

Fresh ground pepper 


Add the salt to the water and stir until all the salt has dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients of the brine to the salted water and stir. 

Add the chicken breasts, cover and rest for 1 hour. Stir once of twice. 

After 1 hour remove the chicken breasts, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. 

Place the chicken breasts on a low sided roasting tray and rub the oil all over each breast. Combine the dried herbs in a small bowl and season with pepper to taste. You do not need to season with salt as the breasts have been in a salt brine. 

Sprinkle the mixed herbs all over each breast. Cover and rest in the fridge for at least two hours. Overnight is fine. 

Pre-heat oven to 200C (400F) 

Remove the chicken from the fridge while the oven is heating up. 

Once the chicken has come to room temperature place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and rest covered for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

Serve with seasonal fresh vegetables of your choice.