Simple fancy summer food | Otago Daily Times Online News

With their signature “simple fancy” philosophy, Margo and Rosa Flanagan — aka Two Raw Sisters — are out to make people’s lives easy when it comes to summer entertaining.

“It’s intelligent laziness. Save yourself time, money and stress while creating delicious recipes.”

Big believers in using whole, unprocessed, familiar ingredients that anyone has at home in new and inventive ways, the Christchurch sisters have recently released their fourth cookbook, Simple Fancy.

While they are not vegan or vegetarian, the sisters aim to change people’s mindsets to base their meals on plants, not meat.

Instead they start with recipe plans and then add their choice of protein — animal or plant-based.

With their latest cookbook, they hope to make entertaining easier and enjoyable — for guests and also the cook — “whether your form of ‘entertaining’ is a big family gathering such as Christmas Day, a long lunch catching up with close friends or simply you and your partner for a weeknight meal.”

They know the dining room table is often the place where people share memories, conversations and food with family and friends, but often with all the planning and preparation, people forget to enjoy themselves.

They also urge readers to use their recipes — separated into sweet and savory in the book — as a guide, giving swaps for those with food allergies.

Their rule of thumb is to swap a vegetable for a vegetable, a fruit for a fruit, a grain for a grain.

“Use whatever produce is in season and cheap and whatever staple ingredients need to be used in your fridge or pantry. Being creative and using what is abundant is a fun way to change up a recipe and make it yours.”

Spoiler alert — the book includes their recipe for a plant-based salted caramel which does not include expensive cashew nuts or tummy-upsetting dates.

“We have a love-hate relationship with this [recipe] because it took us so long to create the perfect caramel sauce that tastes identical to its unhealthy counterpart but, long story short, we finally got it right.”

The book also includes a handy staples guide, as the pair say a well-stocked pantry containing all the essential ingredients is important when it comes to organization and time-saving.

The ingredient notes include helpful tips such as using oat flour in sweet dishes as it has a naturally sweet flavor, and spelled flour in for savory dishes.

Another handy feature is the list of menus for different occasions — brunch, barbecue dinner, al fresco meals, a Christmas Day feast or movie night-in — helping take the guesswork out of entertaining.


Extracted from Simple Fancy: Inviting recipes for all eaters and occasions by the Two Raw Sisters. Photography © Kate Battersby and Margo Flanagan. RRP$45. Published by Allen & Unwin NZ.

Smoky Tomato, Caramelized Onion + Eggplant Flatbread

We would have flatbread pizzas this week. Well, when we say “we”, we really mean that Margo has pizza for weeks — someone needs to buy her a pizza oven! The Smoky Tomato, Caramelised Onion and Eggplant Flatbread is Margo’s all-time favorite recipe, while Rosa’s favorite is the Zucchini, Pesto and Capers Flatbread. Make sure to go crazy with your own topping ideas too!

Makes 3 flatbreads

Prep time 10 min (dough) + 15 min (topping)

Rise time 3 hours

Cook time 15 min

Fridge life 7 days


½ cup cold water

1 tsp instant dried yeast

pinch of raw sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp oil, plus extra for greasing

2 Tbsp water


Place the water, yeast and sugar in a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes.

It should start to become foamy.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and sea salt, making a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, oil and extra water. Use your hands to form a dough in the bowl.

Place the dough on a lightly floured bench and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Drizzle a small amount of oil into a clean bowl and use your hands to rub the oil around the inside surface. Place the dough in the greased bowl and gently coat in the oil. Cover the bowl with beeswax wrap or cling film and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 3 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, lightly flour your bench again and form the dough into a long cylinder. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and use a rolling pin to roll them out ready to be topped.

If you aren’t using all the dough at once, roll the pieces into a ball, cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.


3 flatbreads (see above)

Smoky Tomato Relish (see recipe below)

caramelised onions (home-made or store-bought)

2 eggplants, cut into sticks and roasted

3 stalks kale, stalks discarded and leaves roughly ripped into small pieces

150 g feta (optional)

To serve

handful of rockets

⅓ cup toasted pine nuts

sea ​​salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Arrange the 3 flatbread bases between 2 baking trays. Spread the Smoky Tomato Relish generously over the bases, followed by the caramelised onions and roasted eggplant. Scatter over the kale pieces, followed by the feta, if using.

Bake the flatbreads for 15 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and top with rocket, pine nuts, sea salt, black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. We like to dollop some extra Smoky Tomato Relish on top too.

Cut into slices and serve while warm. These are best served and eaten straight from the oven.

NOTE: We always encourage you to use our recipes as guidelines, substituting and using whatever ingredients you have at home. If you don’t have eggplant or pine nuts, use what needs to be used up in your fridge and pantry. Pizza is the perfect canvas to get creative.

Smoky Tomato Relish

Chipotle peppers and smoked paprika add an amazing smokiness to this thick tomato garlicky sauce. It’s great in sandwiches, as the tomato base on pizzas or as a dip for fries.

MAKES: ½ cup

COOK TIME: 15 min

1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, crushed and roughly chopped

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground cumin

pinch of chili flakes

1 tsp sea salt

black pepper, to taste


Put all the ingredients into a small pot, stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until fragrant and thick. Stir occasionally to prevent relish burning on the bottom of the pot. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

The Smoky Tomato Relish will keep in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Carrot Cake

Our grandad loved this carrot cake and it would always be the cake we’d bake for his birthday. It’s spiced with cinnamon and ginger, loaded with carrot, walnuts and dried fruit then lathered with cream cheese icing. This recipe is for you Grandad, we love and miss you so much.

Serves 8

Prep time 20 min

Cook time 40-50 min

Set time 1 hour

Fridge Life 5 days

Dry ingredients

2¼ cups wholemeal spelled flour

½ cup coconut sugar

¾ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

½ cup raisins

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

pinch of sea salt

Wet ingredients

2 carrots, grated

¾ cup light-flavoured oil

2 bananas, mashed

¼ cup plant-based or dairy milk

juice of ½ orange

Cream cheese icing

1 cup cashews

⅔ cup plant-based or dairy milk

5 Tbsp pure maple syrup

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

zest of ½ lemon

2 tsp vanilla bean paste

pinch of sea salt


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease the 20cm cake tin.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl.

Mix the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40–50 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the cream cheese Icing, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until super creamy and smooth. Place the icing in a bowl and put it in the freezer to chill and firm up, for about an hour.

When the cake has cooled completely and the icing has firmed up, whisk up the icing, then spread evenly over the cake. Sprinkle over some toasted coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds before serving.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Lime Miso Noodles + Broccoli

The lime miso sauce in this recipe is to die for, it’s so punchy, creamy and salty with the miso, tahini, sesame oil and lime. Mixed through noodles and with yummy crunchies like edamame beans, peanuts and sesame seeds, this will forever be in our book of favourites.

Serve 4

Prep time 15 min

Cook time 8 min

Fridge life 3 days

270g packet udon, soba or rice noodles

oil, for cooking

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

pinch of sea salt

Lime Miso Sauce

1 Tbsp miso paste

2 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp tamari

juice of 2 limes

pinch of sea salt

water, to loosen

To Serve

1 cup edamame beans, blanched

handful of coriander, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp sesame seeds

½ cup toasted peanuts, roughly chopped


Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.

Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat. Add the broccoli florets and a pinch of sea salt.

Cook over a high heat for about 5–8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the Lime Miso Sauce, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Add enough water to achieve your desired consistency.

Place the cooked noodles and broccoli in a bowl. Drizzle over the Lime Miso Sauce and toss through the noodles and broccoli.

Add the edamame beans, coriander, sesame seeds and peanuts.

Gently toss everything together and serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.