Lauraine Jacobs

Food Writer and Author of Delicious Books


12 January 2016


My husband Murray used to be disappointed if he caught a kahawai as his first love in fishing is to chase for kingfish. However once I started smoking the oily dark kahawai over manuka chips, he has changed his mind. Smoked fish is gorgeous when it’s warm and straight from the smoker, then as it cools it loses its appeal. So the leftover smoky flesh is perfect for fish cakes.

  • 250g smoked kahawai
  • 100g fresh white fish (gurnard, trevally, blue cod)
  • 2 potatoes, boiled or steamed
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps fresh thyme, chopped
  • Few sprigs parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 tbsps milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Combine the fish, potatoes, spring onion, herbs and lemon zest together in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, leaving the mixture slightly chunky. Make a ‘panade’ to bond the cakes together. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour, cumin, salt and pepper with the bay leaf and stir until the flour starts to cook. Tip in the milk and stir constantly until thick and bubbling. Add this to the fish mixture, stirring in the lemon juice and season to taste. Cool the mixture and form into six large fishcakes. Beat the egg, and dip each fishcake in egg and coat with panko crumbs to cover completely. Refrigerate until needed. To cook, melt a little butter in some olive oil in a heavy frying pan and gently cook the cakes on both sides until they’re golden. Serve at once with a spicy chutney or lime-flavoured mayonnaise and salad. Serves 4-6

20 December 2015


For the meringues: * 4 egg whites * 220g sugar * ½ tsp pure vanilla essence * 40g crushed freeze-dried raspberries (Fresh As brand)

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Beat the egg whites until stiff with an electric beater and add the sugar a little at a time, continuing to beat. Add the vanilla essence. Remove the beater head and fold in the freeze dried raspberries. Spoon small tablespoons of the meringue mixture onto the baking tray, leaving a gap between each meringue. Bake the meringues or one hour then turn the oven off and leave to cool. Make about 2 dozen and these can be store in an airtight tin for up to a week.

For the chocolate sauce: * 200mls cream * 200g finest quality dark chocolate * 50g soft brown sugar

Take a medium saucepan and half fill with water. Place a large heatproof bowl over this so that it fits snugly with the base just above the water line. Bring the water to the boil and reduce the heat so the water is barely simmering. Place the cream, chocolate and sugar in the bowl. And stir this mixture for about 3 minutes or until chocolate almost melts. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to stir until all the chocolate melts. You do not want the chocolate to ‘seize” or go grainy. Place this chocolate sauce in a clean, dry airtight jar. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Serve at room temperature or reheat very carefully in a small bowl over simmering water.

To finish: * 300mls cream * 300mls Greek style yogurt * 3 punnets mixed berries; raspberries, strawberries and blueberries

Whip the cream until soft but not too stiff and fold in the yogurt into this gently in a very large bowl. Break up about 1 dozen meringues into 2-3 pieces and add to the creamy mixture with most of the berries. Fold very gently so everything is just combined but not swamped. Serve with the remaining berries and a drizzle of the chocolate sauce over the top. Serves 10.

12 December 2015


I loved the food in Oregon, and this rich chocolate cake is almost brownie like, reminding me of the superb chocolate shops of Portland and of course the superb berries that state is known for. My mother shared this recipe with me and I’ve added more raspberries as raspberry and chocolate is one of my all-time best flavour combinations.

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla essence
  • 75g cocoa (Valrhona)
  • 100g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Prepare a 22cm square tin by buttering the sides and base and dusting with flour. Shake off any excess flour.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time with the vanilla and beat well. Sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder together, and fold carefully into the mixture.

Turn half the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter over half the raspberries, and then top with the remaining mixture. Dot the top with raspberries, and place the pan in the oven.

After 45 minutes, check the cake is cooked by poking the middle with a skewer. If it comes out clean and when the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the tin, remove it from the oven.

Turn out onto a rack and when cool, dust the top with icing sugar.
Serve with freshly whipped cream, or a thick Greek style plain yogurt and raspberry sauce made from 1 cup raspberries pureed with 4 tablespoons sugar.

Cuts into at least 12 pieces.

8 August 2015


  • 1 large leek
  • 50g butter
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 200g baby spinach leaves, washed
  • ½ cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread, crusts removed

For the custard mixture;

  • 200mls milk
  • 150mls cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 75g grated tasty gouda cheese
  • 2 tsps thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Butter an ovenproof casserole or soufflé dish. Preheat the oven to 170C. Slice the leek very finely. Melt the butter in a wide saucepan over gentle heat, add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes until they soften without browning. Add the spinach leaves and toss over the heat until they wilt. Continue to cook for a minute or two so any juices evaporate. Set this aside. Meanwhile bring salted water to the boil and blanch the cauliflower for two minutes. Drain well and add to the leeks and spinach.

Place the eggs, milk, and cream in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the half the grated cheese, feta, thyme, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Cut the bread into large cubes and fold into the egg mixture with the reserved vegetables. Tip this mixture into the prepared dish, and scatter over the remaining cheese. Allow the dish to sit for about ten minutes so the bread absorbs some of the custard. Bake for about 45 minutes, until it is puffed and golden and still a little moist in the centre.

Serve immediately with a green salad. Serves 4 Wine match; fruity chardonnay

12 July 2015


‘Jelly Tip’ Trifle As it is Jelly-Tip July I have paid homage to this special treat that I have been eating for more than 50 years. The delicious trifle is made in three stages and my dinner guests last night thought it tasted exactly like a Jelly Tip!! Here’s my recipe;

For the Jelly layer:

  • 1 pkt raspberry jelly crystals
  • 600mls boiling water
  • 250g raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 8 savoyarde biscuits

For the chocolate custard;

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsps sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 200mls cream
  • 400mls whole milk
  • 4 tbsps Valrhona cocoa

For the creamy layer and finishing:

  • 150 mls cream, whipped
  • 150 mls Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsps Heilala vanilla syrup
  • Handful of freeze dried raspberries
  • 4 squares dark chocolate

Dissolve the jelly crystals in the boiling water. Allow this to cool a little, before putting the raspberries into a crystal bowl. Break the savoyarde biscuits into pieces about 5 cm long and lay these on top of the raspberries. Tip the jelly over all this, place the bowl in the fridge so the jelly sets while you make the custard.

To make the custard, beat the yolks and sugar together. Heat the cream and milk with the vanilla bean until it almost simmers. Tip the hot liquid onto the yolk mixture, stirring all the time to make the custard. Rinse out the milk pan, tip the custard back not the pan and over a gentle heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coast the back of the spoon. Take off the heat and stir the sifted cocoa in while the custard is still hot. Allow the chocolate custard to cool a little before carefully pouring over the raspberry jelly layer. Cover and refrigerate.

About an hour before serving, whip the cream and add the yogurt. Carefully fold the vanilla syrup through and spoon the creamy mixture on top of the chocolate custard. Decorate by grating some chocolate over the top and chucking a few freeze dried crunchy raspberries over.

Serves 8-10

16 December 2014


  • 4 eggs
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 small lemons, grated zest and juice
  • 90g fine semolina
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1 punnet strawberries, tops removed and sliced
  • 300mls cream, whipped

Preheat the oven to 160C. Prepare a 22cm cake tin by buttering the sides, lining the base with a disc of baking paper and buttering again, and finally dusting with caster sugar and flour.

Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks and sugar together in an electric cake mixer until thick and mousse like. Add the lemon zest and juice and continue beating until the mixture forms a ribbon when lifted with a spoon.

Carefully stir in the semolina and ground almonds with a metal spoon. Whisk the egg whites until they form peaks, then fold them carefully into the mixture. Turn at once into the prepared tin and bake for 30-40 minutes.

When cool, pile the whipped cream on top and cover with the sliced strawberries.

Serves 8 Wine match; asti spumante

16 December 2014


  • 2 punnets strawberries
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup pinot noir
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 8 mint leaves, sliced thinly

Remove the tops from the strawberries and cut each in half. Place the vanilla and sugar in a pan with the pinot noir and over gentle heat dissolve the sugar. Add the strawberries and bring to a very gentle simmer. Allow the berries to cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Chill in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, peel the orange, removing all the white pith and cut into segments or small pieces. Add the orange to the stewed strawberries in the syrup and spoon servings into small glass dishes.

Spoon a little yogurt on top and decorate with the sliced mint.

Serves 4 Wine match; late harvest riesling

28 October 2013


Genius Ham and Egg Sandwiches

Recipe by Lauraine Jacobs

  • 1 loaf thin-cut white sandwich bread
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I like Best brand)
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 300g Pokeno Bacon’s sugar-cured, manuka-smoked sliced ham
  • 2 tbsp Dijon style mustard

Make the egg filling by plunging the eggs into rapidly boiling water to cook for 7-8 minutes. Immediately remove and plunge into icy cold water to cool rapidly. Peel the eggs and place in a bowl. Use a potato masher to crush the eggs and add the mustard powder, salt and pepper, 4-5 tablespoons of the mayonnaise and the parsley. Mix well so the eggs are well mashed and not too chunky. Divide the egg onto seven portions and spread over seven pieces of the bread. Top each with a second slice. Lightly spread the upper side of these pieces of bread with mustard and place slices of ham on the mustard-spread bread. Finally spread the remaining seven slices of bread with mayonnaise and press lightly onto the ham. Take a very sharp knife and cut the crusts off each side of each sandwich. Cut each sandwich into three fingers and place on a sandwich plate. Cover with cling-film wrap and then with a wet tea-towel until ready to serve.
Makes 21 sandwiches

3 July 2013


This story was published in my FOOD column in the Listener last week with the genius recipe for Angus Eye Fillet of Beef.

New Zealand grows grass in abundance; grass that feeds cattle and sheep to make our processed beef and lamb world-class. So it’s disturbing to hear that farming forecasters this week predicted that the impact of this summer’s long drought will result in a $1 billion loss to our economy.

In such a difficult season, North Auckland farmers, Chris and Karryn Biddles overcame the lack of growth in their paddocks, producing consistently tasty tender beef to win the 2013 Steak of Origin challenge. This competition organised by Beef and Lamb, the marketing arm of our meat industry, aims to find the most tender and tasty sirloin steak in New Zealand. It is open to beef farmers, retailers, wholesalers and foodservice suppliers.

The competition process involves an initial assessment of the sirloin steak at Carne Technologies in Cambridge, where each steak is aged for three weeks before being tested for tenderness, pH, marbling and % cooking loss. The most tender sirloin steaks went on to tasting tests, and at the Grand Final the judging criteria for the twenty finalists included measuring aroma, texture, flavour, tenderness and juiciness.

The Biddles have been regular winners with their beef, having been named NZ Producer of the Decade in 2012. Their farm, Te Atarangi Stud is at Te Kopuru on the stretch of coastline southwest of Dargaville. Chris Biddles credits his wife Karren for finishing the cattle to what he calls ‘rising health’ by moving them around every day or two to eat the best of the grass. The northern kikuyu grass, regarded as a nuisance by many, combined with chicory and plantain grasses makes for delicious steak that’s not too fatty. What surprised many other farmers was the winning entry was an Angus/Jersey cross. Biddles commented that some stud breeders around New Zealand “don’t approve of dairy cross beef.” It would seem, however that the proof is in the eating.

I asked the Biddles about their own favourite choice cuts of beef, and they agreed the front end of the animal is the tastiest. Those cuts, for Karryn’s long slowly braised casseroles with garlic, onions and vegetables, are firm family favourites.

The celebration prize-giving dinner was hosted by the Beef Expo in Feilding and served in the exposition hall by caterer Hester Guy and her team from Palmerston North. Lowing cattle and the accompany smells added to the country atmosphere. It was beefy meal with a tasting platter of beef treats, followed by marshmallow-soft eye fillet from the competition entrants.

Hester Guy offered some handy hints to accompany the following recipe she served; “This is a useful combination as the ingredients can be cooked in advance and reheated. Watch the juice from the beetroot though, as if there is too much juice it flows over the plate and makes the beef look extremely rare! Sometimes you may have noticed foil corrodes when used as a cover for foods to go into the oven. I will usually cover a dish with baking paper or greaseproof first to stop this happening.”


  • 4 medium beetroot
  • 4 red onions
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1kg eye fillet of beef

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash the beetroot and simmer in plenty of water until tender enough to peel, (about an hour depending on the size of the beetroot.)
Meanwhile peel the red onions, leaving the root end attached. Cut each onion into 6 wedges. Toss into a roasting pan with 2 tablespoons balsamic and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes until the onions are tender but not too darkly caramelised. Keep aside. Peel the beetroot, cut into segments and toss in second roasting pan with remaining balsamic, olive oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper to season and some of the thyme leaves. Roast for about 15 minutes, tossing a couple of times. Allow to cool. Combine the beetroot and onions in one pan, tossing carefully and cover with foil. Reduce the heat in the oven to 160°C and reheat for 15 minutes when ready to serve with the eye fillet. To cook the eye fillet, season with a little extra olive oil, salt and pepper and the remaining thyme leaves. Heat a heavy frying pan and sear the meat on all sides. You may like to add a little extra olive oil to the pan. Once the meat is browned, place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the beef, cover well with foil and a tea towel so the beef remains hot. Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes, then carve into neat slices and accompany with the red onion and beetroot mixture.

Serve with roast potatoes and steamed green beans. Serve 6. Wine match; syrah

Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson for the Listener

18 February 2013


Many people steam the shellfish open, grinding or chopping the meat before adding it to the batter. I find those fried fritters with their twice-cooked meat can be pretty tough. Years ago my mother shared a tip with me to get around this. She puts her pipis, once purged, into the freezer for at least two hours. When she takes them out they pop open as they defrost and the raw meat is easy to remove and far better for adding to the fritters or soup.

  • 1kg surf clams tuatuas, diamond or any other clams
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • Pinch of cumin
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsps self rising flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 2 tbsps chopped fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon or lemon thyme)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsps grapeseed or vegetable oil

If using the vacuum-packed Cloudy Bay surf clams, remove from the packet and split them open through the hinge of the shell. (If using freshly gathered clams, see notes above.) Remove all the meat and the juices to the food processor. Briefly pulse the clams to chop them roughly. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a frying pan and add the chopped onion and cumin. Fry gently until golden. Beat the eggs, add the flour and the cooled onion and mix well. Add the reserved clam meat with the lemon zest and herbs. Season with black pepper. To cook the fritters, heat the oil with the remaining butter and when hot drop about a tablespoon of the batter into the pan. Cook about 4 or 5 at a time, turning over after three minutes to cook the other side. Remove to a paper towel and keep the fritters warm. Serve with classic tartare sauce. Makes about 10-12 fritters. Serve with ice cold lager.

Easy tartare sauce

1 egg, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, Juice of ½ lemon, 250ml grapeseed oil, 250ml olive oil, juice of ½ a lemon,
1 tbsp chopped tarragon, 1 tbsp rinsed capers, 1 tbsp chopped gherkins, 2 tbsp chopped parsley,

Make a mayonnaise by placing the egg, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, the lemon juice and a little salt and black pepper in the food processor. Whizz together and then slowly pour in the oils through the feed tube with the motor running. Remove to a bowl and stir in the chopped tarragon, rinsed capers and chopped gherkins, the chopped parsley. Season to taste.

Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson for The NZ Listener