Lighter seafood chowder

This chowder is incredibly flavoursome and a lot lighter than traditional fish chowder. I’ve been curious to see whether removing dairy from my diet could have health benefits for me, so this is my milk- and cream-free take on this classic soup. I used homemade fish stock made from snapper frames, but you could use vegetable stock; it just might not be quite as tasty.

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 leek, white and light green parts, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds then quarters

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tbsp flour

pinch of paprika

pinch of chilli flakes

1 litre fish stock

1/3 can coconut cream

200–250g firm white fish (I used tarakihi), diced

150g raw prawns or prawn meat

zest and juice of 1 lemon

crispy friend pancetta, to garnish

fennel fronds, parsley or dill fronds, to garnish

Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add leek and cook for 4–5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add garlic and carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes, taking care to not let the garlic burn.

Add potatoes, flour, paprika and chilli flakes and stir until vegetables are lightly coated in flour.

Add fish stock. Scoop the cream from the top of the can of coconut cream and stir this into the mix. I used about 2 tablespoons of it, but you can vary this depending on how creamy you want your chowder, or how much coconut flavour you want. Simmer for 10–15 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

Add fish and prawns and cook for 3–4 minutes, until just cooked through. Take care not to overcook.

Stir through lemon zest and juice.

Divide between bowls and garnish with crispy pancetta and fennel, parsley or dill.

Gooey lemon and rosemary slice

This recipe was inspired by the groaning lemon tree in my backyard. I’ve been stalking it for weeks, waiting for the lemons to tip over into juicy ripeness so I could make some limoncello using the family recipe some Dutch/Italian friends shared with us. Luckily there are plenty for baking too. For this slice, I freestyled the measures (not being a natural baker I like a test!) and next time might use a little more lemon zest or juice and a little less sugar (I used 1 3/4 cups) in the topping to make it tarter. Some recipes for this type of slice use icing sugar for the base, which would give more of a shortbread texture. (Limoncello to come.)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2–3/4 cups caster sugar

150g room-temp. butter, cut into cubes

4 large eggs

1–1 3/4 cups caster sugar (depending on how tart you like things)

zest and juice of 3–4 large lemons (about 2/3 cup juice)

1/3 cup flour

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a slice tray. I used a glass dish and that worked fine.

Sift first measures of flour and sugar into a bowl. Mix in butter until you have a crumb-like texture. You could also do this in a food processor.

Press into tin and bake for around 20 minutes, or until just starting to colour.

Beat eggs and second measure of sugar until pale and thick. Add lemon zest and juice and then sift in second measure of flour. Fold gently to combine fully (don’t stir too hard or the tiny air bubbles in the mixture will skedaddle). Pour over base.

Bake for 30–40 minutes, until set and slightly crispy on top but still gooey in the middle. If it starts to colour too quickly, drop the temperature to around 150°C.

Leave in tin to cool then remove, dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with rosemary flowers (and extra lemon zest if you like) and slice as desired.

You can turn this slice into a decadent dessert by fancying it up with some whipped cream or ice cream and a drizzle of limoncello.