Lauraine Jacobs

Food Writer and Author of Delicious Books


1 January 2013


A light summer pasta dish, inspired by Jerusalem, the new book from Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

  • 2 handfuls pasta
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsps pinenuts
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 4 slices roast lamb, cut into strips
  • handful of garden fresh basil
  • 100g feta cheese

Cook the pasta and while that's simmering, cook the peas and drain well.

Place the yoghurt, and half the peas in the food processor and blitz until creamy smooth and pale green. Add half the oilve oil and mix well.Keep aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan, add the pinenuts and chilli flakes and cook gently for two minutes.

Drain the pasta, toss into a bowl with the yogurt and pea sauce and toss well together so the pasta is coated. Reheat the remaining peas with the lamb in the fryingpan with the pinenuts. Toss this with the pasta.

Divide amongst four bowls and finally strew the torn or chopped basil leaves and the crumbled feta over.

Season with black pepper and a little salt if necessary. Serves 4 as an entree.

26 December 2012


You can find these Cloudy Bay clams on line at or from fresh seawater tanks at Seafood Harbour in Newmarket's Rialto Arcade in Teed St. Or try this with freshly gathered tuatuas at your favourite surf beach.

  • 1kg packet vacuum packed Cloudy Bay tuatuas
  • 1kg packet vacuum packed Cloudy Bay diamond clams
  • 300g Linguine (rustichella d'Abruzzo)
  • 4 tbsps ev olive oil
  • 1 large clove new season garlic, sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, diced finely
  • 1 carrot, diced finely
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 glass of rose/white wine
  • handful Italian parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • salt and black pepper (judicious use advised)

Open the packets of clams and keep aside with juices. Take a large pot of salted hot water, bring to the boil and when simmering add the pasta. Cook for 8-11 minutes until tender and drain through a colander.

Meanwhile, in a very large frying pan or sautee dish, heat the olive oil and ad the garlic, fennel and carrot. Cook, stirring rapidly over medium heat until soft. Add the wine, tomatoes and chilli and bring to a simmer, add the clams with any juices and cook over high heat until all the clams open.

Throw in the parsley and butter with the drained linguine. Toss well together, add lots of extra black pepper and serve at once with a fresh green salad.

Serves 4 very generously.

20 December 2012


Duck breasts with balsamic, orange and fresh cherries

  • 4 boned duck breasts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Scant tbsp flour
  • 300mls chicken stock
  • 150mls red wine
  • 1 orange, grated zest and juice
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 20 cherries, stones removed and cut in half

Trim any excess flaps of fat from the duck breasts. With a very sharp knife score the skin of each duck breast to make a diamond pattern. Generously season each side with salt and pepper. Place the duck breasts, skin side down in a heavy based frying pan, and place over a moderate heat. There is no need to oil the pan as the fat will immediately start to run from the duck. Turn the heat to low and allow the duck to cook gently for about 10-12 minutes. Once the skin is crisp and golden turn the duck breasts over and continue to cook on the meaty side for a further 2 minutes. The meat should be nicely rare. Remove from the pan and keep the duck breasts covered in a warm place to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. There will be at least one cup of fat in the pan, so store this in a container and when cool, refrigerate. The duck fat can be used to roast delicious potatoes and keeps for months if refrigerated. To make the sauce, put the chopped onion and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook gently until the onion is golden and soft. Stir in the flour and continue to cook until the flour is golden. Add the stock, red wine, orange zest and juice and stir while bringing to the boil. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 10 minutes so it reduces and becomes syrupy. Add the balsamic and cherries and cook for a further minute.
To serve, place the duck breast on a heated plate and pour the sauce and cherries over each portion. Serve with steamed baby new potatoes and blanched baby green beans, garnished with a little chopped parsley. Serves 4 Wine match: a Central Otago pinot noir

30 August 2012


This dessert is a variation on bread and butter pudding, made with sliced almond filled croissants from French baker Paneton. Traditionally French bakers would stuff almond paste into their left-over croissants, and rebake them for sale next day. Paneton, an Auckland wholesale bakery, make their almond croissants fresh every day, and they’ve become their hero product. If you can’t find almond croissants, use classic croissants and scatter over 2 tablespoons of ground almonds. I have used fresh sliced Angelys pears with lemon rind and juice for extra flavour and balance in the pudding. If you’re serving this for a dinner party prepare everything ahead of time, and just before you sit down to dinner, pour the vanilla-scented custard over the prepared croissant and pear mixture and pop it in the oven. It will happily bake while you’re eating.

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 300ml cream
  • 250ml milk
  • 4 almond croissants, sliced into 4-5 pieces
  • 3 ripe Angelys pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the vanilla bean and sugar in the combined cream and milk. Bring to simmering point then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes to infuse with the vanilla flavour. Meanwhile, place the sliced croissants in a well buttered attractive ovenproof baking dish, overlapping the slices. Sprinkle the pears with the lemon juice and zest, and then add them to the croissants, tucking them in between the slices. Add the strained, infused milk and cream to the eggs. Beat well then pour over the croissants and pears. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the custard is set and the pudding is puffy and golden. Serve immediately with yoghurt or whipped cream.

Serves 6.

5 August 2012


Wellington cheesemaker Zany Zeus has produced a range of smoked cheese products. They yet to hit the market but I am lucky enough to have scored a pottle of the smoked ricotta at the Food Show. It's amazing. Soft, smoky, salty and sweet.

In honour of this cheese I gathered a few of my favourite of my favourite ingredients and whipped up this Sunday lunch salad. It's simple to put together and therefore simple to eat. (The rosemary flowers were sensational addition, not only for the subtle colour but also for the taste sensation when combined with the smoky ricotta.)

  • three handfuls of greens and sprouts fresh from my garden (including lamb's ear or mache)
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • 2 beetroot, boiled, peeled and quartered
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 4 tablespoons Zany Zeus smoked ricotta
  • rosemary flowers
  • juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Arrange everything artfully on the plate. Drizzle over the lemon juice, olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve at once with crusty bread as a luncheon dish. Serves 2.

23 June 2012


I can assure you this is totally worth the effort and my inspiration was chef Corey Hume of BLanket Bay Lodge

  • 1 kg Merino lamb shoulder meat, boned and cut into 5cm chunks *1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin *1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 4 tbsps grapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 100mls port
  • 2 tsps tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 500mls lamb stock

Sprinkle the lamb with the coriander, cumin and salt. Heat the oil in a deep casserole dish and brown the meat. Take the meat from the pan and place in a colander to drain. Tip off excess fat and add the vegetables, cooking until they start to brown. Add the port and stir well as it bubbles up. Add tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns with lamb stock, stirring well. Return the lamb to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with the lid and place in a 150°C oven for two hours, checking occasionally to ensure the meat does not dry out and is almost falling apart. Allow to cool a little.

For the mushroom mixture:

  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 4 tbsps grapeseed oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 button mushrooms, halved
  • 20g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water
  • 250 mls lamb stock
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup chervil leaves, chopped

Sauté the shallots in the oil, then add the garlic with the mushrooms and drained and chopped porcini, keeping the liquid from the porcini. Sauté together until the mushrooms are cooked through. Add the stock with the strained porcini water and parsley and simmer until the mixture is sticky and glossy (about 10 minutes.)

For the potato topping:

  • 750 g Agria potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp truffle oil

Mash the potatoes and pass through a sieve or potato ricer. Heat the milk with the bay leaf and butter. Beat this into the potatoes, add the truffle oil and season to taste.

To finish the pie: Set the oven to 180°C. Reheat the casseroled lamb and gently combine the warm mushroom mixture with this. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the meat mixture into a shallow casserole or pie dish and pipe or spread the potato mash on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the potato topping is golden and the lamb thoroughly heated through. Serves 4-6. Wine match: A full bodied Amisfield pinot noir

Recipe; Lauraine Jacobs, Photo: Elizabeth Clarkson

2 June 2012


This is my grandmother's recipe for Pavlova with fruit and cream. Queen Salote of Tonga asked my Nana Laura to bake it for the luncheon in honour of the visit to Tonga of the young Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 teaspoon malt vinegar

For decoration:

  • 300mls cream
  • 2 kiwifruit, sliced
  • 1 mandarin, sliced
  • 2 passion fruit

Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare the baking tray by drawing a 22cm circle on a sheet of baking paper. Cut a long strip of paper about 10cm wide and form a paper case that will fit around the circle. Fix the ends together with a pin or paper clip to make a paper case.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar, a third at a time and continue to whisk until the mixture is shiny and very thick. Gently sprinkle in the cornflour, the seeds scraped from the vanilla pod and the vinegar. Mix gently.

Place the mixture into the paper case and spread it out evenly, smoothing the top. Put the pavlova into the pre-heated oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140°C. Cook slowly for about an hour or more until the interior sets.

When cool decorate with cream and fruit. Whip the cream to firm peaks and spread over the pavlova with a palette knife. You can pipe rosettes around the edge for extra effect. Scatter the fruit on top of this. Serves 8.

Recipe by Lauraine Jacobs, Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson, Stylist Kate Arbuthnot

27 May 2012


This recipe is called ‘pavlova’ sponge as it uses the yolks only, that are left over from making meringues or pavlova. You can make cupcakes like these or a 20cm sponge.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 75g flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 4 tbsps boiling water
  • 1 lemon, grated rind only

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until very thick and light. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and fold this into the egg and sugar mixture with the vanilla essence. Melt the butter and fold this through with the boiling water and grated lemon rind. Spoon the mixture into paper baking cups. Bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. Cool and decorate with cream or icing as follows. Makes 7-8 large cupcakes or 16 small cupcakes. Can also be made in a 20cm cake tin. Store for up to three days in an airtight tin.

Decoration for cupcakes:

  • 150mls cream, whipped
  • 1 packet jelly crystals, dissolved in water and set
  • 75g butter
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest cut into strips

To make into butterfly cakes, cut a small circle about 3cm deep from the middle of each cake. Cut this little piece into two pieces to form the ‘butterfly’ wings. Whip the cream and spoon a little into the centre of the well in each cake. Decorate with berries or little cubes of jelly and finish the cake by placing the wings onto the cream. To make the lemon icing, melt the butter and beat in approx 6 tbsps icing sugar with 2 tsps lemon juice and continue beating until smooth. Spread this onto the top of each cake and decorate with lemon zest strips.

  • Recipe by Lauraine Jacobs, Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson

10 May 2012


  • 10 baby beetroot
  • 2 large waxy potatoes
  • 3 tbsps duck fat
  • Handful of fresh walnuts
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 large duck breasts
  • 3 cups fresh mixed salad leaves and herbs
  • A few opal basil leaves and herb flowers to decorate
  • 1 lemon, juice only

Prepare all the ingredients. Boil the baby beetroot in water until tender (about 25 minutes) then peel and cut into halves.

Peel and slice the potatoes and blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes. Melt the duck fat in a heavy frying pan and gently fry the potatoes until golden and tender.

Toss the walnuts in a roasting pan, coating with the honey and one tbsp of the oil and roast at 170°C for 5-7 minutes until they are crisp.

Slash the duck skin in a criss-cross pattern and generously season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy frying pan and add the duck skin-side down. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes until the skin is crisp and much of the fat has been released. Turn the breast over and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove and allow the duck breasts to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

To assemble the salad, wash the leaves and herbs, dry them carefully and spread on a large serving platter. Evenly scatter over the beetroot, potatoes, walnuts and duck slices. Finish with the basil leaves and flowers and drizzle a little of the hot duck fat and the lemon juice over everything. Serves 4. Wine match; chardonnay

Thanks to Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson, Recipe by Lauraine Jacobs

10 May 2012


  • 2 whole ducks
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced
  • 3 pods star anise
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken or duck stock
  • 1 tbsp flour To finish:
  • 2 tbsps five spice powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 nectarines or peaches, halved
  • Basil leaves

Set the oven to 150ºC. Take a sharp heavy knife and remove the neck and tail. Cut each duck in half, by cutting through the middle down the length of the breast and then flattening the duck out and cutting through the length of the back. Wipe the duck halves dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Place the chopped vegetables in a roasting pan with the star anise and thyme and place the duck halves on top of this with the rib cage down. Bring the water to a boil and tip into the pan. Cover tightly with tinfoil and place the dish in the oven. Allow the ducks to braise slowly for 2 hours and 30 minutes. The meat should be very tender. Allow to cool. Meanwhile strain the juices in the roasting pan into a large container. Allow this to set in the frig and save the duck fat for other uses. You can make the sauce at this stage by deglazing the pan with flour and the stock. Allow to bubble up while stirring for 5 minutes. Tip into a small saucepan for easy reheating later. Once the duck is cool, carefully remove the breast bones and rib cage. They should easily come away from the meat. Leave the wing and leg bones on to give the duck shape. 45 minutes before you want to serve the duck, pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Rub the skin of the duck halves with five spice powder and a little salt and pepper. Place on a rack over a baking dish and roast for 25-30 minutes until the skin is crisp and the fat has been rendered down. Reheat the duck sauce, adding the halved peaches or nectarines to warm. Serve the duck halves on a heated platter and tip the sauce and fruit over. Garnish with basil leaves and serve at once with potatoes roasted in duck fat and fresh green beans. Serves 4 (or maybe 6 small appetites) Wine match; a rich pinot noir

Photo Elizabeth Clarkson Recipe Lauraine Jacobs