30 Apr // Crack a bottle and get in the kitchen

One thing I’m often asked about is cooking for one. Usually it’s because the person I’m talking to is uninspired, or stuck, or just not that interested in putting in much effort to only feed themselves. Always with the enthusiasm, I’m often saying that I find cooking especially satisfying when it’s just for me, and even better if I make enough for two and have leftovers for lunch. #treatyoself.

I find the act of cooking itself therapeutic, and I get that not everyone does, but there’s something so so satisfying in making yourself a meal and not waiting until you have someone to cook for before trying out a recipe. Like that idea that you shouldn’t save your fancy underwear for a special occasion (or an audience). Break out your favourite glassware, light the beautiful candle, cook yourself something delicious. And dare I say, crack into a bottle of something great to drink on a weeknight and have a date night for one. Life is short!

(Equally though, if you find yourself cooking for another or a group, this dish has that perfect upscaleability that you can multiply to your needs. And definitely still wear the lacy undies and dust off your grandma’s silverware).

Now, I know that you can buy pesto and throw it through some pasta and call it dinner, and I would definitely encourage you to do that some other time. But a chunky pea pesto sauce made with toasted walnuts and punchy raw garlic, is just that much more flavoursome, satisfying, and able to be adapted. It’s still very quick, it’s very delicious, and it is perfect with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

This recipe is a match I’ve created to match with Peter Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. The tasting notes say it has a fruity palate, with a long citrus finish, and in my humble opinion, it’s a beautifully balanced savvy. It’s the herbs and the citrus that you get in this crisp yet soft classic Marlborough sauv, that led me to this lemony, herby, garlicky sauce, all bound together with the freshness of peas. The wholemeal pasta adds a very slight nuttiness, and the walnuts, well, the walnuts just feel like a stroke of genius. Without the goats cheese it’s vegan too, as is the Peter Yealands wine.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of NZ’s most famous exports, and still a very popular wine. Not the tart acidic $8 a bottle stuff you may have drank as a wayward youth, they are complex, balanced beauties. Marlborough produces some of the best in the world, and Peter Yealands, which has only been going ten years, has a commitment to sustainable wine growing, and the results are paying off.

Whether you’re cooking for one, or for two, or for a few this international Sauvignon Blanc day, Yealands wines are encouraging people to #ExpressYourSauv and make up your own wine matched dish. I mean, you should definitely make this one, but you should also give a splash of wine pairing a go: this wine also goes extremely well with prawns, mussels, and fish.

I always like to incorporate what you’re drinking into the meal, and a splash of sauv while you’re drinking and cooking absolutely does not go amiss here.

Crack open a bottle and get in the kitchen.

Green pea pesto pasta, with goats cheese

Green pea pesto pasta, with goats cheese

serves one

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted under running water
Decent handful fresh basil
Small handful fresh mint and parsley
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly dry toasted in a frying pan
Zest of one lemon, plus one Tbsp juice
Drizzle of olive oil
Heaps of salt and pepper
One portion wholemeal spaghetti, cooked in salted boiling water until al dente
Splash of Peter Yealands reserve sauv that you’re drinking

To serve:
Soft crumbly goats cheese (or use feta of you prefer)
Extra herbs
Salt and pepper
Peter Yealands Marlborough Sauv

Braise some thick slices of fennel and some additional peas in a little butter and salt and lemon juice until golden brown, piled on top.


Run the peas under some hot water to soften and defrost. Drain, and add to the bowl of a food processor.

Add the herbs, the garlic, the toasted walnuts, lemon zest and juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Blitz until blended but still chunky. Taste and adjust as necessary. You might want to up the lemon or the salt.

If braising the fennel and peas, simply brown a knob of butter in a pan, and on a medium-high heat add the fennel and a handful of peas and a sprinkle of sea salt and cook for about ten minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a tiny bit of the cooking water. Add a splash of sauv and the pesto to the same pot and mix through. Twirl it onto your plate with tongs and garnish with chunks of goats cheese. Pour yourself a glass of Peter Yealands Reserve sauv and have a very happy Sauvignon Blanc day.