Blueberry buckle


IMG_4769Lois’ blueberry buckle is a perfect way to use up any frozen blueberries lurking in your freezer which you’re feeling a little hesitant about eating after hearing about this. That aside, this buckle is an extremely delightful dessert with a cute-as-a-button name.

Blueberry buckle (adapted slightly from Lois Daish, NZ Listener, 8 January 2005)


2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the topping, rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Alternatively chuck the whole lot into a food processor or mixer and process until combined. Set aside.


100g butter, softened

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 free-range egg

zest of a lemon

1 1/4 cups plain flour

2 teaspoon baking power

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup milk

1 heaped cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen berries don’t defrost first)

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and lemon zest. If using a food processor scrape the mixture out into a large mixing bowl at this point. Sift the dry ingredients and add these to the creamed mixture alternating with the milk, mixing until fully combined.

Scrape the cake batter into prepared tin, cover with blueberries and sprinkle over the topping. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. If using frozen berries the cake might take a little longer, but start checking it from the 35 minute mark.


Dark ginger cake


A dark ginger cake for a grey and rainy Sunday afternoon. Lois’ dark ginger cake is one of those cakes that gets better with age, but it’s also one of those cakes that is absolutely delightful eaten on the day its baked while the top is still crunchy. The (let’s face it, obscene amount of) treacle imparts a dark bitterness to this very moist and rich cake. A slice of dark ginger cake is perfect with a dollop of Chantilly cream (cream laced with icing sugar and vanilla paste) for dessert.

Dark ginger gake (Lois Daish, Good Food, p.97-98)

200g butter, softened

200g brown sugar

4 free-range eggs

500g treacle

100g raisins or sultanas

100g crystallised ginger, chopped

400g plain flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line the bottom of a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Pour in the treacle and beat until the mixture turns a deep caramel colour. Add the raisins and crystallised ginger. Sift in the flour and ginger and stir to mix. Heat the milk in a saucepan until hot but not boiling and add the baking soda; stir to dissolve. Add the milk mixture to the cake batter and stir to incorporate. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for at least an hour. If the cake starts to get too dark on top you may need to cover loosely with tin foil. Cool on a cake rack.

Lois & Kelda (and Kelda’s lemon yoghurt cake)


Kelda Hains’ first job as a cook was at Lois’ bustling suburban restaurant the Brooklyn Cafe & Grill. Kelda recalls being a hospitality and tourism student and approaching Lois to interview her for an essay on small owner-operator run restaurants. Lois was the only restaurateur to ask for a copy of the finished essay; not for editorial control but out of a genuine interest. When Kelda returned to the restaurant to drop off a copy, Lois asked if she would like a job. Kelda said yes.

During the time that they worked together at the Brooklyn Cafe & Grill, Lois had a formative impact on Kelda’s approach to food. Kelda admired Lois’ style of food based on simplicity and thoughtfulness which she describes as ‘home cooking with finesse’ and her approach to running a restaurant based on generosity.

Kelda and Lois’ relationship wasn’t a typical mentor and student relationship however, as the information exchange went both ways. The shared inspiration Lois and Kelda found in each other is self evident as you look through Lois’ Listener columns, where Kelda’s name sometimes pops up as the source of recipes.

As co-owner of the wonderful Nikau Cafe, Kelda has developed a strong reputation for her own simple and thoughtful approach to cooking seasonal and local food. Not to mention for her baking, some of which is made using Lois’ recipes. Anyone who has had the delight of eating a baked something from Nikau Cafe will know to expect great things from Kelda’s recipe for lemon yoghurt cake and it most certainly does not disappoint.

Kelda’s lemon yoghurt cake (Listener, May 3 1997, p. 53).

4 free-range eggs

225g sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

grated zest of two lemons

1/2 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt

200g flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

75g butter, melted and cooled


1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a loose-bottomed 23cm cake tin and grease the sides with some butter. Use an electric beater to whisk the eggs and sugar until really pale and expanded in volume (will take a couple of minutes). Fold in the lemon juice, zest and yoghurt. Add the flour and baking powder and fold through. Stir 1/2 cup of the cake batter into the melted butter and then fold this mix back into the batter. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for around 30 minutes until firm.

To make the glaze, heat the juice and icing together until it forms a syrup. Pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin.