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Ginny Grant - Food writer

Ginny Grant has been a senior food writer for Cuisine Magazine since 2006 and has built a career developing recipes and as a food stylist.

Following university, Ginny worked as a chef and while on her OE, was able to talk her way into a job at London's illustrious River Café. Here one of Ginny's colleagues in the kitchen was none other than Jamie Oliver...before he found stardom.

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Once back in New Zealand, and working at the Boulcott Street Bistro in Wellington, Ginny joined our weekend Certificate and Restaurant and Café Management course, travelling to Christchurch over 10 weekends. Ginny also spent a number of years working for Catherine Bell at the Epicurean Workshop.

At our demonstration Ginny shared a Moroccan Lamb recipe that she had recently developed for Farro along with Saffron Rice and Bakoula, spiced and wilted greens. 

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Ginny talked to her fascinated audience of wannabe food-writers, about how she got started a chef and progressed on to developing recipes, writing small stories and chipping away developing her craft and knowledge.

Ginny commented that sometimes, "you just need to find the courage, even if you are worried that you don't have skills". Ginny said that when she applied for the River Cafe job, she was not confident about her proficiency in the kitchen but with time, dedication and hard work, she learnt to master those skills.

Follow Ginny Instagram@ginny.grant


Serves 4-6 / Preparation 20 minutes / cooking 2½ hours 

Tart dried apricots from Central Otago are ideal to use in here, where the fruit melt into the sauce and help cut the richness of the lamb. Its a wonderful dish to make ahead too, just add the herbs and toasted nuts once you have reheated the lamb and chickpeas. 


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout (I like Besaha brand)
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 800g boned lamb neck casserole cut (or use shoulder), cut in a 3 cm dice
  • 500mls chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 125g tart dried apricots, roughly chopped (I used Bridge Hill)
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup parsley or coriander leaves
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted


  • In a wide saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft, around 10 minutes. 
  • Add the cinnamon, ras el hanout and chilli flakes and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the lamb and stir through, browning lightly.
  • Add the stock, salt and apricots and bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 1½ - 2 hours, adding a little extra water or stock if you think it is drying out too much.
  • Add the chickpeas and heat through, then stir through the parsley or coriander, and garnish with the slivered almonds.
  • Serve with saffron infused rice.


Serves 4-6 / preparation 5 minutes / cooking 25 minutes 


  • a couple of good pinches saffron threads
  • a pinch sugar
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3½ cups chicken stock or water


  • Grind the saffron in a mortar and pestle to a powder with the sugar.
  • Pour over ¼ cup boiling water and allow to infuse for at least 15 minutes before using.
  • Rinse the rice a couple of times until the water runs clear, then drain well.
  • Heat the oil in a medium sized pan, add the onion and cook until soft.
  • Add the drained rice and stir to coat in the oil until well coated. Add a good pinch of salt ,then pour over the saffron water, add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes (without peeking) before fluffing with a fork.


Serves 4-6 / preparation 10 minutes / cooking time 10 minutes 


  • I bunch silverbeet (approx. 800g) or use a mix of kale or other greens
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons harissa (optional)
  • ½ preserved lemon, skin only, finely chopped
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


  • Rinse the silverbeet well, removing the stems from the leaves, chopping the stems and shredding the leaves. Set aside.
  • In a wide pan, gently heat the oil, add the silverbeet stems and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, add the cumin seeds, paprika and harissa if using and cook gently for a few minutes, then add the silverbeet leaves, preserved lemon, coriander and parsley, a good seasoning of salt and stir to coat well.
  • Cover with a lid and cook until tender, around 5-8 minutes. Season to taste.

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Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

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Founded by Celia Hay, the New Zealand School of Food and Wine opened its first campus in Christchurch in 1995.

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