Asparagus and Feta Mousetraps

It’s another wintry Sunday afternoon here and I was all on my lonesome in our rather cold house (welcome to New Zealand). Time for comfort food like mousetraps with asparagus, served with a nice pot of tea.

We’ve featured mousetraps here before but I just wanted to point out that the addition of lumps of feta cheese under the cheddar makes a good thing even gooder.

The Dominion Sunday Times did a little survey of the commonly available types of cow’s milk feta today. They favoured the Zany Zeus variety followed by the Bouton d’Or. Unfortunately they didn’t cover my favourite budget feta from Mainland. It’s on the crumbly side of the family and is quite salty which makes it perfect for cooking.



My parents were disappointed when I overcame my childhood aversion to eating mushrooms . It wasn’t that they had something against the consumption of fungus by young people – it’s just that they’d have to share.


Now I live with Kim and we both like mushrooms on pizza and in hamburgers, but I can’t get her to appreciate the simple beauty of mushrooms on hot buttered toast. Sadly I think that the fault might be mine as I seem to have an inability to cook them consistently. There seem to be three possible outcomes whether I fry or grill them:

1. Too dry – burnt and leathery
2. Too wet – soft and slimy
3. Just right – hot and juicy and tasty

Today’s effort was one of the better ones and I’m going to keep using this technique until I learn a better one (tips greatly appreciated!).

Take sufficient portobello mushrooms. Shake off the dirt and slice thickly. Heat a large (in relation to the amount of mushrooms) frying pan with a little bit of canola oil. Put the mushrooms in and shake/stir them fairly continuously. Put the toast on when the mushrooms are starting to sweat. Butter the toast and put the (with any luck) cooked mushrooms on top. Eat with a knife and fork.


Potato and Leek Pizza

Potato Pizza is a simple way of combining both major food groups into one delicious meal.


In the past I’ve always had problems getting the potatoes just how I want them. Either they’re too leathery, or too hard and underdone, or … just not as good as they should be. Indeed, I would say that I generally have problems with frying things and it’s my worst cooking method (although I seem to have finally got the hang of frying eggs).

Tonight I decided to take a different approach and decided to roast/fry the potatoes in the oven – and it worked just great and the pizza was delicious. Here’s how I did it.

Potato and Leek Pizza
(serves 1-2 depending on desired belly fullness)

– One small pizza base (yes, I’m lazy, feel free to make your own)
– 2 tbsp basil pesto
– One large potato
– 1 sprig fresh rosemary, or 1-2 tsp dry rosemary (inferior, less classy, easier)
– Extra light olive oil, or other cooking oil
– One leek (or about four spring onions)
– 30gm grated mozzarella cheese
– 30gm grated cheddar cheese
– salt grinder

1. Heat oven to 200c
2. Scrub the potato and cut into thin slices. Cut the slices in half if they’re too big.
3. Pour a little oil into a baking dish and make sure the bottom is covered.
4. Put in the potatoes, drizzle over the rest of the oil.
5. Sprinkle the rosemary over it.
6. Cook until half-done (5-10 minutes) and then turn. Complete cooking.

While waiting for the potatoes:

7. Spread the pesto on the pizza base
8. Chop the leeks. They can be small to large depending on your whim.
9. Nibble on some of the cheese (we call this “emergency cheese” as we’re normally pretty hungry by the time we start cooking).

And now the potatoes are done:

8. Put the potatoes in a single layer on the pizza. Eat the rest.
9. Arrange the leeks over the potatoes.
10. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese.
11. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese (yes, the order is important).
12. Put on a baking tray at the top of the oven, cook until golden and bubbly (5-10 minutes)
13. Grind some salt over it, cut it up and serve. Don’t be too hasty and burn the roof of your mouth.

Enjoy, Thomas.

Winter Warming

I often take pleasure in getting the little things right when cooking.

One thing I like to do, especially in winter, is to make sure I heat the plates the food will be served on. Obviously this keeps the food warm for longer and if you’ve living with a food blogger it gives you more time to take photos. Don’t do this if you’ll be serving something like lettuce which won’t like the heat.

To warm them I either just put the plates into the oven at about 50c degrees, or if the oven is in use I stack the plates on the hotplate above the oven vent.

Mousetraps with Asparagus

(Or how to get your asparagus fix in winter)


You will need:

  • Four pieces of bread (wholegrain recommended)
  • One can/jar of asparagus spears
  • About 100gms (3-4 oz) of cheddar or another good melting cheese
  • A grill (broiler for the US folk)
  • Salt and pepper grinders


  • heat the grill
  • thinly slice the cheese
  • drain the asparagus


1. Toast one side of the bread under the grill.
2. Remove the bread and arrange the asparagus spears on the non-toasted side.
3. Put the sliced cheese on top. If you’re as picky as me you’ll leave no part of the bread uncovered. This also helps avoid burning.
4. Place the mousetraps back under the grill. Leave them there until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
5. Remove, add salt and pepper, eat. Don’t burn the roof of your mouth!

I think the Americans call this grilled cheese. I’ve always called them mousetraps and I assume this comes from the theoretical appeal of bread and cheese to mice.

Huevos Motulenos Whangamata Style

These eggs are our attempt at Huevos Motulenos like we ate a number of times in Mexico.


For two people:

  • Cup of frozen mixed vegetables.
  • Half a cup of salsa.
  • Four eggs.
  • 50gms feta cheese.
  • 4 slices bread.

Cook the veges. Fry the eggs. Heat the salsa. Make the toast – well-done to avoid sogginess.

Assemble by putting the toast down, followed by the eggs, the vegetables, and the salsa. Sprinkle with the feta. Consume.