Best Of

Happy New Year!

It's been a great year, and now it's time to soak up some sun and kick back and relax with friends and family. This New Years menu offers the best of the season, with easy shared plates and bright, summery sweets.

  • 1

    Spangle berries

    These sparkly chocolate-wrapped berries are the ritzy cousins of the chocolate-dipped ones. They are the perfect uptown companion to flutes of sparkling Champagne or pile them high on special cakes for a regal look. Gold and silver sparkling sugar is available online from cake-decorating stores (I got mine from Photographs by Jani Shepherd, styling by Fiona Hugues; Gatherum Collectif.

    New Zealand Taste|

  • 2

    Single serve festive pavlovas

    Making individual pavlovas, which each person can load with as much cream, berries and coulis as they wish, is the way to go at Christmas. Getting the perfect balance of crunchy exterior and marshmallow centre can be tricky, but this recipe works every time!

    New Zealand Woman's Weekly|

  • 3

    Sesame-crusted fish fingers

    I've used rice flour here, as a gluten-free option, but any flour is fine. In fact, the fish can simply be sprinkled with seeds before cooking for an even quicker version

    New Zealand Taste|

  • 4

    Little lemon and berry merveilleux

    This little light patisserie concept originates from northern France – translated into English, ‘merveilleux’ means ‘wonderful’ and what wonderful mouthfuls these little treats are. They are usually a combination of meringue, cream and dark chocolate but I’ve given them a Kiwi summertime makeover with lots of sharp and tangy fruit flavour. Crunchy puffs of sweet meringue, chock-full of lemony cream and wearing tangy caps of strawberry powder are the perfect light finish to a holiday celebration. Recipe by Fiona Hugues. Photo by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

    Your Home and Garden|

  • 5

    Fancy prune skewers

    Whatever you call these, devils or angels, back in the 1980s we’d fight for them as kids. This version is a little more substantial than my mother’s but I’ve certainly carried on her tradition of soaking the prunes in port or sherry overnight. I’m not sure if it was the boozy prunes or the crispy bacon that we adored so much, and I don’t really care – they’re just insanely moreish. Recipe by Fiona Hugues. Photo by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

    Your Home and Garden|

  • 6

    Potato Salad

    There was much debate as to the origins of this recipe and the short story goes like this: photographer Jani’s husband, Alec, created it, my kids loved it and then recreated it themselves. When I announced that I was going to share Alec’s recipe here, 10-year-old Maude disappeared and then presented me a short time later with a carefully written recipe for ‘her’ potato salad. So here it is: my version of Alec and Maude’s potato salad. Recipe by Fiona Hugues. Photo by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

    Your Home and Garden|

  • 7

    Homegrown beans with brown butter & almonds

    These gently cooked beans are one of Fiona Hugue's old recipe favourites, with a little vinaigrette of slightly lemony, nut-brown butter and a sprinkle of crunchy nuts. Photography by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

    Your Home and Garden|

  • 8

    Roasted eggplant salad

    A delicious roasted eggplant salad topped with jewel-like pomegranate, olives and mint

    New Zealand Taste|

  • 9

    Strawberry tart with gingersnap crust

    Macerating the strawberries enhances their flavour, so this is a handy recipe for when the fruit looks better than it tastes. The filling is light and creamy with a hum of ginger, and the tart is easy to make ahead.

    New Zealand Taste|

  • 11

    Pimms garden cocktail

    A classic drink with cooling cucumber and subtle dryness, this Pimms has a few extras including added flavour from aniseedy fennel flowers. Photography by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

    Your Home and Garden|

  • 13

    Smashed avocado with blue corn & sesame tortilla chips

    I’ve used sesame blue-corn chips with this recipe not only for their dramatic colour but also their sweet nutty flavour. They are higher in protein than yellow corn chips and you can find them in the health-food section in supermarkets or at specialty food stores and health shops. Photography by Jani Shepherd / Gatherum Collectif.

    Your Home and Garden|

  • 14

    Roasted aubergine dip

    This chunky substantial dip with exotic notes is a simply sublime marriage with the Sesame, Cumin & Coriander Flatbread by Huntley & Palmers, that will turn you into an aubergine lover after a couple of bites. Roasting them not only makes this an easy dish to prepare but adds wonderful caramel flavours. Grab a box of Flatbreads and an aubergine or two and try it - you won’t be disappointed.


  • 15

    Bantam-egg tartines

    I’ve had the pleasure of knowing two old dames who could each put together a knock-out egg sandwich. Sadly, they’re no longer here so these little French-style toasts are my salute to them. Thank you, Ruby and Jean. Photography by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

    New Zealand Taste|

  • 16

    Lemony hummus with roasted chickpeas and olive oil

    There are plenty of versions of hummus recipes out there but this is a great go to – easy and fast. Tart, lemony and creamy all at the same time, it easily becomes a light meal before you know it.


  • 17

    Burnt marshmallow coconut cones

    My youngest child, who’s six, couldn’t decide between chocolate coconut roughs, toasted marshmallows or vanilla ice cream for dessert one day. “That’s fine,” I said and the rest is history… Photography by Jani Shepherd/Gatherum Collectif.

    New Zealand Taste|