Celebrity cook and author Allyson Gofton jokes that her husband struggles with the cooking instructions for their children while she's away on tour.

Gofton was speaking at her Masterton venue, Paper Plus on Queen St, on Tuesday night as part of her promotional tour for her book, Country Calendar: Homestead Baking.

The theme of the book, as well as celebrating 50 years of Country Calendar, is the recipes that fed shearers, musterers and farming families across generations at remote New Zealand farming stations.

In tapping into that historical theme, Gofton stayed with two Wairarapa farming families, the Matthews at Waiorongomai in South Wairarapa, and the McFadzeans from Gladstone.


With young Greta Matthews as an assistant, Gofton prepared an Amish apple cake, a recipe originating from the Blue Duck Lodge in Whanganui.

The full house audience, many with cookbooks already open, were quick to correct Gofton, who was working from memory.

"Just one cup of sugar," called out one person, as Gofton was preparing to drop in one-and-a-half. The banter led Gofton to remark on the sugar debate, saying that while sugar in products and soft drinks was bad, it was a necessary part of the taste in baking cakes.

She also commented on the changing trends in what meat was available, saying the "Remuera ladies" in eastern Auckland would probably sniff at suitable meat for casseroles, a New Zealand staple.

As a consequence, those cuts were hard to find in Auckland -- which impacted on farming practices.

Gofton has written over 20 cookbooks, and is probably best remembered for fronting the long-running Watties Food in a Minute series.