Sunday 28 December 2014

Holiday in East Cape

   December has been an exciting month. A month of preparation and lots of organisation. A big family Christmas was planned which involved lots of preparation, baking and many, many lists!
   But before our busy Christmas, the hubby and I thought we would give each other the gift of time together. A small holiday was quickly planned. I had remarked that I had never visited the Bay of Plenty area. So it was decided to take advantage of our 'spare' week in December and drive to Gisborne, onto to Tokomaru Bay, Tologa Bay, Waihau Bay, Whakatane, Tauranga and back home via Taupo. We had a very special time in each place. I loved the history of the area, and everywhere we went people were so friendly and helpful. I finally managed to walk along the "most loved beach" in NZ, Ohope Beach. And a visit to the historic sites on route was truly memorable.
   In Gisborne we stumbled across Muirs Bookshop and Cafe. What a wonderful find, one of the best bookshops I have ever been to.
   Another highlight was a meal at Roquette in Whakatane I would recommend you try this lovely place.
   And finally, the Bay of Plenty is a bit of a photographers paradise.  I am already planning another trip in 2015.
Our first night - the Gisborne sunset
Toes in Ohope Beach - I thought the sand would be white?
Tologa Bay wharf - an amazing restoration
So many beautiful Pohutukawa trees
Historic St Marys Church

Sunday 7 December 2014

Unbaked Christmas cake

I love collecting recipes, especially those from friends with a bit of a personal story.
I have made many, many friends through my volunteering. Said friends have a habit of enjoying a morning tea break or lunch time together. Around the table (as you can imagine) we talk about all sorts of things and invariably we end up talking about food and recipes.
This recipe came from one of those friends. I will not embarrass her by naming her, lets just call her B.
She is an amazing woman, always ready for a challenge. Inspirational, caring, kind, interesting and fun to volunteer with. She is in her latter years but her energy and enthusiasm for life would shame many people half her age.
I have printed the email when she sent the recipe and will always treasure a couple of personal comments she included in her message.
Unbaked Christmas cake ( from B's repertoire)

Place in a large saucepan -

250g butter
1 cup sugar and melt
Add to this hot mixture 2 beaten eggs – remove from stove
Add two packets of crushed (not too small)  malt biscuits. Add 1 tsp of Rum, brandy, almond lemon or vanilla essence.
Add 3 cups of mixed dried fruit such as currants, sultanas, raisins, papaya (lovely for colour), cherries, peel, ginger and cut up brazil nuts.
Press mixture immediately into a large flat baking tin and cover with slivered almonds and put in fridge to set.
Cut into small pieces and place in an airtight container and keep in fridge.
Keeps well, excellent to have on hand to serve with coffee etc. at Christmas time. It is nice and sweet so a little goes a long way.

Friday 5 December 2014

Seville Orange Marmalade

I fulfilled a long held promise last week. A month or so ago I came across Seville oranges for sale at the Farmers Market in Hastings, Hawkes Bay. Yay! I was finally able to make Seville Orange Marmalade. (My English friend Di told me many years ago, 'the only marmalade worth eating is Seville Orange Marmalade', but until recently I had never seen Seville oranges for sale here).
This, my first attempt, produced a fantastic result. My medication prevents me from enjoying my Grapefruit marmalade. Now, there are no limitations to the amount of marmalade I can smear on my Burgen toast. So delicious, so satisfying! It took an afternoon to make it and oh the mess. But it was a totally worth it!
For making - I followed the sellers instructions.
 - Cut oranges into quarters, remove seeds and these put into a muslin bag.
 - Weigh fruit.
 - Weigh an equal amount of sugar and set aside.
 - Place fruit and seed bag into a large pot and (just) cover with water.
 - Boil for about 30 minutes, by then the skins should be soft.
 - Cool, remove muslin bag - then toss fruit into a processor and pulse into little pieces.
 - Watch this step as you don't want to process to mush, it should be just chunky.
 - Place fruit back into pot and bring back to boil.
 - Add equal amounts of sugar to fruit. (Or less if you like it more bitter).
 - Stir gently to combine. Bring back to boil.
 - Boil mixture for about 20 minutes (watch it doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan) and start testing for setting.
 - Boil until set.
 - Cool, put into sterilised jars seal when cool.
Sticky yummy stuff

Oops! Spot the spelling mistake

What a mess I made, it took ages to clean up

So satisfying to see all the jars lined up