Lick Your Plate

Lick Your Plate

Cooking & writing all things delicious

Recent Posts

Quick pickled cucumber

Quick pickled cucumber

I am busy looking after my garden, or is it looking after me?  It’s working hard, growing many of my favourite treats, including raspberries, zucchinis and cucumbers.  My rangy, imperfect little beginner’s garden is very restorative.  I can nurture my plants and enjoy some success, […]

Spicy peach chutney with brandy and red currants

Spicy peach chutney with brandy and red currants

Cheese is pretty much my number one indulgence when it comes to Christmas. I don’t say indulgence with the purpose of getting all judgmental about food (far from it – one of my main approaches in my blog is to enjoy all food without fads […]

Unholy guacamole

Unholy guacamole

What I am about to share with you is deeply unorthodox. It’s my own recipe for guacamole, cultivated over the past two decades as I have developed a fully-fledged love of avocados.

I always thought the way I made guacamole was pretty standard. You know, salt, a bit of lemon, avocado of course, and a few other things. But stumbling across a recipe like this one about a decade ago, which infers that much modern guacamole is pretty much a disgraceful mix of inappropriate flavours, I felt both a little shame and a little pride. So maybe I am not strictly orthodox, perhaps it is indeed a little gauche to sprinkle a touch of sugar into your guacamole. On the other hand, if it makes it even more delicious, then what’s wrong with being a little bit of a culinary rebel?

I am particularly delighted to bring my recipe for guacamole to you as it results from kindness and generosity. I happen to have a bounty of avocados in my life right now. I have a regular subscription to the delightful Avo Tree (a little luxury that gets me through some long months of drug treatment which requires me to be alcohol and caffeine- ie all my favourite treats -free). And then, as my most recent Avo Tree subscription sat ripening on the windowsill, imagine my delight when a workmate presented me with a bag from her mum’s avocado tree in Golden Bay! Despite being a long-term lover of the avocado, I had no idea they grew on long skinny stalks in bunches and have to be harvested while still green. Fascinating!

While I have photographed this batch of my uncouth guacamole with healthy peppers and carrot sticks, it really is most delicious and decadent with some tasty salted corn chips. Enjoy.


Flesh of 2-3 ripe or over-ripe avocados (ha! Like they ever have a chance to get over- ripe when I’m around)

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped finely

1 t salt

1/2 t ground pepper

1 t caster sugar (uncouth)

1/4 t nutmeg (even more uncouth)

1 t chilli flakes

Juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons

1 T balsamic or red wine vinegar

Tabasco sauce

Cayenne pepper


Well it’s pretty easy. Put all the above in a large bowl.

The next bit depends on your preferences and available kitchen tools. I prefer my guacamole smooth so I use a stick mixer to blend the lot, but mashing with a fork is perfectly fine too.

Taste after seasoning – I often find I need a little more salt and lemon for my tastes.

In praise of Wensleydale – salad with Wensleydale cheese and raspberry vinegar dressing

In praise of Wensleydale – salad with Wensleydale cheese and raspberry vinegar dressing

I’m in excellent company – Wallace, Gromit and I all love Wensleydale cheese. Crumbly, dense and savoury, Wensleydale originates from Wensleydale, Yorkshire, where it began life as a ewes milk cheese made by French Cistercian monks. It’s now made across the UK from cow’s milk, […]

Garlic-infused oil

Garlic-infused oil

Sometimes you just need some gently savoury food in your life, for comfort’s sake. I have felt this way recently. Freshly-baked bread, cheese scones, pulses and hot drinks are the order of the day. Infused oils are an excellent way to pep up most of […]

Gluten-free chocolate brownies

Gluten-free chocolate brownies

I truly love posting about dessert.  I am a huge fan of baking – we have a rich and rightly-celebrated baking culture in our little country and I am happy to leap in, butter, cream and all.  It feels particularly necessary right now, as Winter clings to the bitter end and another round of fertility drugs has me breaking out in shivers, aches and pimples.  Despite the whole point of my little blog being cooking and sharing, it wasn’t until recently I realised that I might be excluding treasured friends and readers who can’t tuck into on gluten and diary with quite such gay abandon.  I am sorry my lovely readers!  And so today I am bring you my very own gluten-free chocolate brownie.

I have developed this over the past couple of years for my beloved little nephew who has suffered much unexplained ill-health, resulting in a spell as a tube-fed tot.  Next time you spot a little one with a tube, give a smile to their parents – it’s damned hard work, tears and sadness.  Happily our lovely little tyke is much better these days.  He has a lot of gluten-free food, both for the sake of his little system and also because ground almond-based baking helps him to pack in much-needed calories.

Now, you will notice I call this gluten free, but not dairy-free.  I have not experimented with replacing the butter with non-diary spread, but I reckon you could.

Give it a try – it really is pretty simple for a gluten-free bake and deliciously rich for pudding, warm with a little cream.


250g chocolate- either all dark, or half dark and half milk

100g butter

2 C ground almonds

1/3 C brown sugar

1/8 t salt

3 eggs, beaten together

1 t vanilla essence


Set the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tin. Set a pan of water to simmer on the stove.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl over the simmering water. This is honestly my favourite bit, I love watching the butter and chocolate swirl and melt together.

Once melted and combined, take the bowl off the heat. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Add the eggs and vanilla, mix it all in and pour into the prepared tin.

Bake for 25 minutes or until just firm on top.

Apple shortcake squares from the Edmonds Cookbook

Apple shortcake squares from the Edmonds Cookbook

  Apples apples apples everywhere I look right now.  So it’s a good thing I like them so much and an even better thing that I am still resolutely in the apple recipe section of the Edmonds Cook Book.  Today I bring to you Edmond’s […]

Chargrilled broccoli and butter bean salad

Chargrilled broccoli and butter bean salad

  One of the delightful things about days off, along with gleefully sitting around in your pants for as long as you fancy and not removing your slippers EVER, is ample amounts of time to whip up special treats for favourite people.  My lovely Mum’s […]

Smoked kahawai pâté

Smoked kahawai pâté


Some things are meant to be.  I’ve been thinking about Kahawai for a while now.  Common in our waters, it seems to me – and correct me if I’m wrong – that people can get a little sniffy about them.  Kind of like they’re thought of as some kind of second-best fish.  Tough, people say.  Or flavourless.

I’m always up for a food-related challenge.  Determined to find out for myself, and with the entire month of February on enforced bed-rest plus all of the internet at my disposal, I’d been googling all manner of Kahawai-related things.  I had just decided on ordering some smoked Kahawai from this lovely-sounding little outfit when…..

…my husband was invited on a fishing trip.  He is not a natural outdoorsman and to be honest I suspect he accepted the invitation largely due to FOMO.  I wasn’t particularly convinced we would be getting any fresh fish at all.  But, doubter that I am, he proved me wrong and returned with two big, silvery, glistening Kahawai (along with some rather cute little gunard – more about them in another post).

The downside to this little story that the Kahahwai were completely whole.  Not skinned, not gutted, and looking up at me from the kitchen sink.  Thank god for Youtube, and several messy, sweary hours later, we had some neat little Kahawai fillets at our disposal.  By this time I was a bit sick of looking at fish, so it was over to the husband, aka Kahawai catcher extraordinaire, to smoke them.

It seems that for as many people who get sniffy about Kahawai, there are as many who sing Kahawai’s praises, especially as either smoked or curried.  I adapted this recipe from our beloved National Radio to smoke the fillets, and gosh, they were gorgeous.  Lush, flaky and flavoursome, and most definitely fine all by themselves.  I do love a dip, and so used one of my precious fillets to make this simple pâté.  It’s lovely with some toasted tortilla or flatbread and goes very well with a nice dry cider.  I reckon you could substitute another type of smoked fish too, but I have to ask, why would you?

Smoked Kahawai fillets:

For four fillets:

5 T honey

2 T maple syrup

2 T brown sugar

Flaky sea salt

Marinate the fillets overnight in the above mixture.

Cook for half an hour or until skin flakes away with a fork.  We did ours on our Weber barbeque using a smoking box and manuka wood chips .

Smoked Kahawai pâté:

1 fillet smoked Kahawai, flaked into chunks.

150g tub of sour cream

2 T mayonnaise

Juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl.  Use a stick blender or masher to combine until smooth, or to your taste (some people swear by a chunkier consistency, I like mine a little smoother).

Serve with toasted tortilla or flatbread.


Cheese and tomato one-pan feast

Cheese and tomato one-pan feast

Well hello there.  Tomato glut?  Yeah, me too.  Much of it not my own harvest on account of abdominal surgery recovery and whatnot, so I am doubly grateful for all of the tasty goodness that has been kindly coming my way of late.  All gifts […]