Mastercook – The Third Season – Jeremy, Summer and SPQR in 2017


Mastercook is one of my favourite events on the calendar.

It’s fitting this is 2018’s first post, as eating delicious food, with family & friends (new and old) in my home and especially garden (and new under-the-stars fire) is something that brings me buckets of joy.

And JOY is on the radar for 2018.









I’m very aware last year’s (2017’s) Mastercook reports are incomplete, but one fabulous thing about writing one’s own blog is one gets to make and break (oftentimes one’s own) rules. So i’m publishing Jeremy’s Mastercook snaps and stories before the preceding and missing-in-action shots of the others. They’re to come. Maturing like French wine.

This is our 3rd season, and the most humane. This Mastercook shenanigan.

It’s the original 4.


Sisters and Husbands and Kitchens and Tables.

As you may or may not remember this round’s ‘kawa’ is to cook from one book – the premise that the others could go buy the publication if so inspired.

I did Ottolenghi, someone did The Great New Zealand Cookbook, i forget the third, possibly perhaps Annabel Langbein OR Nadia Lim?

This 4th ‘episode’ for 2017 features within a very eked out 4 seasons of Mastercook nights in Matua and Mount Maunganui and to finish it off with a ‘kersplosh’ we’re cooking in Maggie (aka) our Mum’s kitchen in Ponsonby.

This ‘extended’ season is most humane cos none of us have remembered to score. Competition has been thrown out. All the meals were done on a ‘school-night’ i.e. with very little prep time (except for the soon to be default-champion Jeremy George). All the meals were served late into the night (as in midnight) and sort of had miniature-didn’t-turn-out-so-well-this-time, better-next-time, moments.

We’re in Auckland. It’s days before Christmas. We’ve all got that ‘full’ feeling. Life-full feeling. An extra challenge for JG – cooking in another’s domain. Always requires a little more dare.


Of course this quietly-genius of a cook astounds us again with his detail, the all-outness, and the almost degustation like menu (possibly inspired by our recent visit to Napier’s Pacifica).

JG is cooking from ‘SPQR’ which features in one of many tall stacks around Maggie’s lounge, kitchen and loading zone surfaces in the vicinity.

On old favourite and tried and true haunt for many a folk until late into the darkness of night on Ponsonby Road, ’tis SPQR the restaurant, hence the recipe book.

I met a once-time-boyfriend there in my 20s. We drank sunrise’s? ‘Vodka and cranberries’.
Garage Bar was next door.
What was that Maitre’D’s name?
She had black curly hair and wasn’t tall.
She went on to work at Prego…
Or worked at the two?
Their (SP’s) cajun chicken pizza was always reliable as too the sticky date pud.

Did we go there for Mum’s Hens’ Doo?

We eat proscuitto and buffalo mozzarella to start.


He tells us we should be in the mozzarella making business cos those balls are extortionate.

The next day our children take a fancy to the left over exotic ham – they have a new favourite thing.


Next are the scallops (in a herb butter) served in their reminding-me-of-the-20s sea shells which JG and Clara (7 years) have borrowed from the SPQR’s very kitchen (after Auckland’s Fish Market have naught).


Then an aubergine stack.


But wait there’s more.

Seared Tuna!


And to finish a creme brulee, which didn’t quite cut the mustard or to be more precise ‘set'(but we were all too full and blown away to give a toss).DSC_9990

Cheesy traditional Italian songs played through Spotify.

We couldn’t locate Maggie’s candles.

The Casper cat visited upon the silver cutlery lying down on the smug plates, for snuggles and inspection.

I can’t remember walking to bed.

Wow and satisfaction.

Roll on the Mastercooks of 2018 and beyond.

And here’s to the Mastercooks of yesteryear: Em & Summer 2016, Tessa & Spring 2016. 

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