Right when I was in the middle of newborn/toddler/pre-schooler-hood (yes all 3 at once), my mother Penny used to come up from Taupo & take care of stuff. Handwashing woollens & delicates, gardening, mending, washing & folding, vacuuming; and cooking.

Mum, Penma, Penny

What Mum did for us in those mad hectic days became the inspiration for our Village Kitchen philosophy: helping people, in this case through food. Fresh, nourishing, seasonal, simple, delicious. Convenient yet healthy. No rubbish added. Freshly cooked meals delivered to your door ready for you to heat and eat.

Today is my eldest daughter’s 11th birthday. I’m not quite sure WTH those years have disappeared to, but happily my 3 littlies are becoming slightly more independent and rational & life’s a lot more manageable (Village Kitchen nightly fresh delivered dinners to our door has had a lot to do with that).

As it’s the school hols, we’re making a long overdue visit to Taupo, my hometown. We’re staying with Penny, and in the less than 24hrs since I arrived we’ve been fed fed fed, all home made from scratch: healthy butter chicken (no butter!), bakewell tart, chicken & vegetable soup, paleo-friendly granola & 24hr yoghurt, dairy free/gluten free chocolate beetroot fudge cake, and now there she is busy marinating lamb rump for tonight’s dinner in front of the rugby. 

As a little eldest-daughter-turning-11 birthday treat, here for you now is the recipe:


Penny’s lamb rump for a Sunday night birthday/Rugby World Cup watching dinner with family & friends

This serves 4-5

2 lamb rumps

2 cloves garlic

4 anchovy fillets

olive oil

2 tbsps freshly chopped parsley



Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Heat oil in a pan, then sear lamb on all sides. In a mortar & pestle combine anchovy fillets, garlic, parsley, olive oil & seasoning. Rub paste all over the lamb, then oven bake for 12-15mins.

Serve with buttery minty new season potatoes, a big green salad & simple homemade vinaigrette. Open a bottle of pinot noir & settle in for the evening. 

Penny’s lamb rump

Happy 11th, chicken