Three day quote challenge, day two

My kitchen; part studio, part laboratory, part drop-in centre. My favourite part of the house and my happy place. Image: Su Leslie, 2018. Aged shot of modern kitchen with chrome appliances and red mixing bowl in foreground.

My kitchen; part studio, part laboratory, part drop-in centre. My favourite part of the house and my all-time happy place. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” — Guy Fieri

I love food.

I love eating certainly, but even more, I love thinking about, planning and making food. To cook for you is to say “I care; you matter to me.”

Close-up shot of chocolate cookies, baked to deliver to the City Mission at Christmas. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Chocolate cookies baked with the boy-child, for delivery to the City Mission. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

It seems particularly appropriate to share quotes about food for this challenge as I was invited to take part by Ju-Lyn at Sunrise, Sunset, who says of herself:

It is no surprise that I find myself obsessed with food – after all, I am a Singaporean. We are a people who hold animated conversations about food while we are eating, who would comb the island far & wide chasing the promise of great food!

Thank you Ju-Lyn.

In the few days since I wrote a post for the DP Photo Challenge about My Place in the World is has occurred to me that, no matter where I am, the kitchen is my place. I love my own kitchen — the part of our house renovation I am most proud of — and I happily commandeer friends’ and family members’ kitchens when I visit. Even on holiday, I crave the chance to cook at least one meal — using whatever is to hand.

So I guess there is need for a second quote today:

“The kitchen is a sacred space.” — Marc Forgione

The Three Day Quote Challenge works like this:

1) Thank the person who nominated you
2) Post a quote for 3 consecutive days ( 1 post each day )
3) Nominate 3 bloggers each day

If you haven’t already been invited to join this,  and would like to — please do.

I for one am happy to read all the extra words of wisdom (or fun) that are sent my way.


Regular Random: five minutes with some crackers and cheese

Cheese and crackers platter. Close-up shot of sliced brie, seed crackers with a bowl of chutney, fresh fig and some walnuts. Image: Su Lesli, 2018

Seed crackers, brie and some chutney. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Cheese and crackers are amongst my (many) food weaknesses.

I recently found a recipe (1) for crackers made entirely of seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, sesame, chia and flax seeds to be exact. These are not only gluten and dairy free (for those with such intolerances) BUT also incredibly quick and easy to make.

AND delicious.

Did I mention delicious?

Basically you throw a bunch of seeds into a bowl and add water. The chia and flax seeds go all gooey and mucilaginous (don’t you love that word) in water, and that’s what holds the mix together. (2)

After about 15 minutes you have a blob of stuck-together seeds that can be spread out on baking paper and put in the oven. About 50 minutes after that, you have crunchy, yummy crackers.

Of course, I had to spoil the dairy-free bit by serving them with cheese.

And fig & pear chutney. And a few walnuts.


Regular Random is a photo challenge hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist. If you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to not interfere with the subject, instead see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • have fun!
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post

1. Seed Crackers (gluten and dairy free), Bite NZ’s Home of Food

2. I didn’t have any flax seeds, so I doubled the quantity of chia seeds. That worked perfectly well in terms of holding the mixture together, but meant that the finished crackers were quite grey-black in colour.

The Changing Seasons: April 2018

An autumn dish. Close up shot of tarakihi fillet with rosemary lime crumb, roasted butternut squash and watercress salad on black plate. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

An autumn dish; tarakihi fillet with rosemary lime crumb, roasted butternut squash and watercress salad. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

In this last month we have truly felt a seasonal change. The hot, humid days (and nights) are gone; replaced by cold winds, frequent rain and storms which left thousands of my fellow Aucklanders without electricity — some for up to a week.

Cooler temperatures make the kitchen a much more appealing place to be. So when my local grocer had some really fresh tarakihi fillets (ocean bream or morwong to non-Kiwis), butternut squash and fresh limes (at a price that didn’t require me to sell a kidney), I thought I’d try out a dish based on couple of recipes I’d found.

Close up shot of whole butternut squash, whole and halved limes, and rosemary sprigs. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Butternut squash, paired with lime and rosemary. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

And since I haven’t done a “Version 2” Changing Seasons post for a while, this month you’re getting my pan-fried tarakihi with a rosemary lime crumb and roasted butternut squash.

The actual recipes are:

Lemon & rosemary crusted fish fillets (I replaced the lemon with lime)

Roasted butternut squash with lime and rosemary

Halved butternut squash. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Image: Su Leslie, 2018


Peeled and cubed squash mixed with olive oil, lime zest and chopped rosemary before roasting. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

While I did prepare the squash pretty much according to the recipe, I modified the fish dish a bit.

The original recipe involves grilling the fish with the breadcrumb topping.

Stale bread, rosemary leaves and lime zest; blitzed to a crumb. This forms a topping for the fish. Image shows blizted mixture in blender, with additional lime and rosemary in shot also. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Some stale bread, rosemary leaves and lime zest; blitzed to a crumb. This forms a topping for the fish. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

But since I was using the oven to cook the squash, I decided to pan-fry the tarakihi. I also hate overcooked fish, and being able to watch its progress in a pan means I’m more likely to “get it right.”

Someone told me that you get a really good result by:

a) making sure the skin is really dry

b) putting the fish skin-side down in a hot pan until only the thickest part of the fillet is still opaque

c) turning the fish and and taking the pan off the heat

d) removing the fish from the pan after about a minute.

Worked for me!

The downside of that method is that you can’t make the crust, but I fried the breadcrumb mix in the same quantity of olive oil the recipe suggested putting over the crust. I spread it over the fish on the plate (and on the squash after I’d taken the photos). Yum!

The addition of watercress and a squeeze of lime helped balance the sweetness of the squash.Overhead view of plate with pan-fried tarakihi fillet with rosemary lime crumb, roasted butternut squash and watercress. Su Leslie, 2018

The addition of watercress and a squeeze of lime helped balance the sweetness of the squash. Image: Su Leslie 2018


Image: Su Leslie, 2018

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge, originally hosted by Max at Cardinal Guzman. I’ve taken over hosting duties this year, and if you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


First of all, my apologies for taking longer than usual to create this blogroll. I’ve just got back home after a fab week away.

So here are other bloggers’ Changing Seasons’ posts for April. Please visit and enjoy the month though their eyes.

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth


Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at Following a Bold Plan and My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Max at Cardinal Guzman

Deb at The Widow Badass

Ruth at RuthsArc

Ju-Lyn at Sunrise Sunset

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Mick at Mickscog

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog




Made it myself. Sweet as

close up shot of plate with bread, plum jam and halved plum. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Home-baked bread, home-made plum jam, and fruit from the garden. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

“Sweet as” is a slang term in New Zealand for something that’s really pretty good.

I think my breakfast qualifies. I baked the bread, and made the jam from plums grown in our garden. And even if it wasn’t yummy (it was), I think I’d still get a “sweet as” for effort.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | sweet