My Favourite Things – Spotlight On Me!

This month, my favourite things revolve around special people. My special people. And people who make me feel special. People who cause you to see yourself as you ought to be….or aspire to be.

Lone poppy, Nikon D40

So read on and enjoy…

A great author

A few weeks ago, gathered around my dining table, were 5 ladies happily eating their way through a myriad of verrines. In the course of conversation, I mentioned the ‘Foodies of the World’ cookbook, willing them to add yet another gorgeous inspiring book to their shelves. One of the ladies snapped one up and then shocked me by saying ‘Will you please sign it?’

Usually authors are prepared to sign books. They have their favourite pen to hand, have considered all the phrases to scribble and may even be a touch blasé, having done this repeatedly over the years. Unlike me, who hadn’t even considered that an option.

I beamed and grinned and smiled, touched at the gesture. With a flourish it was signed, ‘With all my love’! I guess I ought to start seeing myself as an author!

A popular ‘cook’

A few weeks after becoming a world famous author, I headed to Cambridge, UK.

On a fine weekday afternoon, midway into the workshop I was attending, one of the facilitators walked past me just as I was headed to lunch. He said ‘Oz, there is a delicious Mango slaw for lunch, you should try it.’ Mango slaw, I thought to myself, I made one a few weeks ago for Queen B. Not wanting to overplay the ‘connection’, I said nothing and served myself up some. Nice I thought.

Till a few minutes later, another facilitator walked up to me and said ‘Oz, your Mango slaw is delicious’. Confusion. Wonder. More confusion. She took me, (I think) by the hand and we walked over to the buffet stand where my Kitchen Butterfly banner stared back at me. ‘Courtesy of Kitchen Butterfly’ it said. And I was chuffed to no end. Definitely my favourite thing – having my recipes made and shared!

See facilitator 1 had shared the recipe with the resident chef, who had whipped up a version of the recipe, replacing the cashews with pine nuts. And a number of my workshop mates loved it when an impromptu survey…in class was conducted – I did have to stand up and acknowledge myself as a food writer and cook!

My recipe, beautifully garnished by Chef Alex at the Moeller Centre, Cambridge

Poppy season and poppy seeds


May and June are months when I revel in the beauty of roadsides and fields, awash with red poppies. I marvel at the thin stems, and the delicate petals, withstanding strong Dutch winds and swaying to the rhythms of spring.


I love the Czech pastries we enjoyed in Prague made from poppy seed jam. Soft, bread pastry rolled out flat like pizza dough, and filled in concentric rings with a creamy custard, alternating with poppy seed paste and rolls stuffed with the same paste. That was the first time I knew poppy seeds could be used other than as bread/pastry toppings.


And no soon after, I came across a ‘Taschen  recipe from Deb of smitten kitchen.



A few years ago, a mentor and senior friend said ‘Consider your friends your personal board of directors’. And I do. That singular statement has brought clarity to the importance of the ones I hold dear. Scattered all over the globe, and with varying histories. I have friends from my childhood and friends from university. Friends from my expat life and friends from my blog. And countless other links and connections, too numerous to mention. One thing they all have in common is our friendship, the support I garner, the advice I receive….and sometimes telling off and lots, lots more.

Which is where I announce that I am now the proud owner of a DSLR. Yes…..because of my friend. On a long telephone conversation, I mentioned the premature death of my Canon G10, and my dilemma – Apple laptop or new camera? To which she responded ‘Get yourself the laptop and I’ll send you my Nikon D40’. And you know what, after all my screaming and freaking out – she did!

Oh, the world of Single Lens Reflex……I am having a ball. Learning and playing and testing and getting to know my new BFF (Best Friend Forever). Thankful because I am super blessed with friends who care. And I hope you are too. See some of the first photos….

Shrimp burgers, Nikon D40

Adding things to my bucket list, and striking them off at the same time

Like Punting. # 60. Afterall, when you’re in Cambridge, do as the residents and tourists do.


Attend Evesong at Kings College and then rent a flat-bottomed boat with friends. Essentially, go for a punt!


Pimms in hand. Then take a gentle row downstream, steering and navigating with the punt. A long, javelin-like pole. Fun, great scenery but no walk in the park. Learning sailing techniques in old age are a tough thing to do, as I myself humbly found out!

Lifting my eyes up to the hills, from whence my help cometh (while punting), Psalm 121

And when I was done, exhausted…I rested on the edge of the boat, almost going to sleep.


And those Ladies and Gentlemen are my favourite things this June. I’m basking in life’s abundance, seeing myself renewed and reinvigorated to think and dream. To wonder ‘What if?’ To say to myself ‘What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?’ To reach, to dream, perchance to even succeed!

Stay well and share your favourite things with me this month. Please.


XX[wpurp-searchable-recipe]My Favourite Things – Spotlight On Me! – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. Just how cool was that to have your salad prepared and to be surprised by it. I love it, what a special moment and thanks for sharing it with us.

    I am going to have to go punting one of these days, it looks like such fun. Of course, when you said with a Pimm’s in hand, I thought even better.

  2. Oz, thanks again for sharing your favourite things with us! They are on my list of favourite reads.

    Enjoy the fame and the new camera. You deserve all of it!


    ps. Meet up soon 😉

  3. These are lovely moments and it’s little unexpected things like this which bring smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. Congratulations on the new camera too!

  4. My sweet friend…you do so many amazing things, and I feel honored that I get to experience some of them through your wonderful photographs and writings. You are always inspiring me! Thank you for sharing with me, dear woman. Your words and creativity bring a big smile to my face. Love and hugs from Austin!

  5. A well deserved congratulations Oz., how fabulous to now be a ‘world famous author & creator of recipes Chefs turn to’. I love it – so deserving to. I love your love post this month & think punting with a Pimms would be the business. Go You Good Thing You 🙂

  6. Wow….. Well done Oz! The chef making your Mango slaw is the ultimate endorsement. That’s very encouraging and should remind you that you have a lot of potential … the best is yet to come. I’ll be on the sidelines cheering you on!

    • Thanks dear. Thanks for my new camera too!!!!!!!

      Lyndsey dear – thank you. And I know about bills. I personally had put off owning a DSLR for a long time! And thanks for the punting compliment, that was one of the better photos!

      Penny – thank you dear.

      Amanda, you’r spot on, very gratifying……I must say. More new camera photos coming soon

  7. Oz, oh how I love reading about you. Love that you made the cookbook and how nice others are so proud of you as well. What great friends you have too, they had to get a camera back in your hands. We love your photos!! I have always wanted to get back into photography, I was really into it with my 35mm, so sad it’s stuffed in the back of the closet. Saving up for my own DSLR though, have to pay the bills first 😀
    I have experimented with poppy seeds at Christmas, when I found a tub at theis German store that we have here in Sarasota, after research I realized that many European countries use them in many different cookies. So much fun, and so good. I wish I could see the poppys along the roadside here.

    So you got to go punting! And you looked good doing it. 🙂

  8. Congratulations, Oz. It must be so very gratifying to receive the recognition of your peers and I can’t wait to see what you do with your new camera.

  9. What a great post, Oz, you world famous chef-author! How nice that you are being recognized for your writing and cooking, the attention is well deserved. Love the shrimp-burger photo, I do ope that will be a recipe post very soon, looks scrumptious! – S

    • Thanks Steve, burger recipe coming up. Its the winning one from EmilyC at food52

      Shaz, oh….sorry it’s cold. I’m almost drugged by the sun and warmth. Thank you

      Thanks Magda, a truly wonderful feeling. The DSLR is great but lots to learn…..

      Sally, thank you. I’m glad I could make a difference and inspire you….that’s what we do for each other. Thanks

  10. Congratulations Oz! Famous author and friend 🙂 I love how your facilitator got the chef to make your mango slaw, and didn’t tell you. What a lovely surprise. And so happy you have a new camera. The poppies are beautiful. I cannot wait for warmer weather, we just got hit by a cold front and I’m shivering as I type this!

  11. What a beautiful post Oz.
    It must be so exciting to be recognized for your work in the book and your blog. Congratulations. That feeling must have been wonderful.

    Congratulations also on your new BFF! Oh how I long to have such a BFF. I still have a point-and-shoot. Some day..!

    Stay well,

  12. Congratulations and thanks for such an inspiring piece. I’m moved almost to tears and I don’t say that lightly. I’m going to print this off and put it above my desk.
    I can’t believe you have been taking your amazing photographs without a DSLR. Will watch with interest what you do with your new toy.

  13. I adore poppies too!! They are so cheery and carefree. 🙂 And look at you so cute punting away. 🙂

    • Thanks Krista….though cute is hardly a word I would have used to describe my buxom self. But thank you darling.

      Celia dear – a pleasant surprise to see my name/recipe. Thanks

      Ann darling, I’ve emailed you……would love to strike a few things off my list!

      France, Sangria….I love cocktails (bad at drinking them) but love them anyway

  14. Hello my friend! We still need to make that appointment to drive in a convertible and go for a walk through the dunes. How about next Sunday!?! I would love to be a part of two things on your bucket list! Hey, we could even put a message in a bottle! xx

  15. How great. I think there isn’t a food blogger out there that doesn’t love having their recipes passed around and enjoyed by many. I love poppies and peonies and the start of sangria season. I love the sun on my face while reading a book. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing.

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