Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sweet New Zealand

There is a lot of sweetness to celebrate this month in New Zealand, not least a long, hot summer now stretching into autumn (with apologies to farmers).  And this weekend is Easter with its proliferation of eggs, bunnies and chickens, mostly of the chocolate variety. But what could be nicer than food bloggers dropping their delectable concoctions in my mailbox?  Come let me share with you the roundup for the month of March.

A peek into the world of raw food starts us off with this exquisite looking entry from Nicola of Homegrown KitchenNicola made this for Purple Cake Day and the poignant and inspiring story behind this can be found on her post. I am so pleased she chose to enter with this, much admired by me,  Raw Blueberry 'Cashew' Cheesecake.    I am in awe at the wonderful colour and can only imagine what it would be like to bite into the creamy berry filling and chewy chocolate base. Nicola says it is so delicious and so good for you and I am certainly not going to argue with that.  I just long for a slice.  Sigh.

Sweet New Zealand creator Alessandra Zecchini dishes up her Apple Slice Cake made with Oratia Beauty apples.  Don’t you just love their name?  Apparently it’s an incredibly simple and quick recipe that makes an amazing apple cake. 

Alessandra has several blogs (I don't know how she does it, I have difficulty with one) and this second entry comes from her Only Recipes site.  Delectable Bergamot Orange Cupcakes topped with candied Bergamot Orange peels. Sounds exotic – and I have to say I am in love with that chair.

Mairi’s curiosity was piqued by a recent raw food class she attended and this dish, Fruit Salad with Honey Nut Crumble, stood out for her.   I’m not surprised as it really took my fancy too.   It looks so tasty with fresh summer fruits and a date & orange syrup.  Do check it out as Mairi has written about the rest of the raw food dishes too.

For those moments when only chocolate will do, Julie at Domestic Executive heads to the kitchen to make this, descriptively named, Anti Chocolate Nemesis Brownie.  In her words – it packs the same, if not better, chocolatey punch as a sugar and wheat version.  Or so my friend told me.  I believe a reliable brownie recipe should always be in one’s repertoire and I willingly add this one. 

In the unlikely event that it has escaped you, this is Easter weekend and Lydia of Lydia Bakes has played Easter Bunny by giving us her take on the famous Cadbury Crème Eggs – Creme Egg Cupcakes.  Love it!  Lydia is a real creative talent in the kitchen so you know these are going to be good.  Vanilla fondant filling, topped with chocolate buttercream and a mini crème egg on top.  Come on, you know you want to and Easter is a great excuse for a chocolate gorge.

Nutella + crostata. Those two words would be enough to warrant a look at GreedyBread Michelle’s entry but if you really require persuasion let me tell you her bad boy Nutella and Crostata tart (or the mini version) is very easy, very delish and very quick and you can slip in a cup of coffee while you’re waiting for the pastry to rest. Now, who can say No to that

I love the bunny that pops up everywhere on Genie’s Bunny Eats Design blog; he (she?) is so cute. This time topiary Bunny is guarding these Banana Hakanoa Mini Cakes (so much prettier than banana muffins). If, like me, you didn’t know what Hakanoa is, well it’s a ginger syrup. Bunny, or no bunny, these cakes look very appealing and that thick cream cheese frosting does it for me.

Fragrant cardamom is one of my favourite spices and I am always keen to see how it is used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  Inspired by a plum and cardamom jam, Sue from Couscous & Cousciousness has used it here to give autumn warmth to her Plum  & Cardamom Cake.  I love that she has frozen single serves ready for breakfast on the run or a quickfire dessert.

Jess, a Californian now living in New Zealand, makes people laugh with her stand-up comedy routine as well as promoting fitness and healthy eating on her blog Jessness Required.  So don’t be fooled by the names Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Easter Eggs (top) or No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Balls (bottom), these are her healthy versions.  Go on, take a look and experiment a little.

Last but not least will be me and my Peach Pie with Lemon Pastry.  Well it’s not actually mine it belongs to Nigel Slater but I am so glad I baked it.  It is everything a summer pie should be: fragrant golden peaches, light, lemony pastry and crispy crust.  It leaves you wanting more.

And if you want more, don't forget Sweet New Zealand will be hosted in April by Monica from Delissimon. 

I’ve had fun hosting Sweet New Zealand for March and bringing these recipes and blogs to you.  Have a Happy Easter.


  1. Great round-up, Lesley - you've done Sweet New Zealand proud. I won't to try every one of those sweet treats :-)

  2. Lovely rounds up Lesley - so many different sweet treats to hanker after. Peach Pie looks particularly gorgeous :o)

  3. Wow....and that cheesecake looks unbelievable! Happy Easter Lesley!

  4. Awesome write-up, what a great variety of sweet recipes, I have definitely 'pinned' a few already :) Can't wait to try them - thanks Lesley!

  5. Thank you for hosting Lesley, and what a variety we have this month, I am so impressed!