Tag Archives: baking


It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
~ Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

What do you remember of your childhood?

I recall abstract details… my first hula hoop; the pain of piping hot cheese toast scorching the roof of my mouth; the excitement of hiding backstage waiting for the curtain to go up. If I concentrate with my eyes shut, I can just about remember what it was like to be 6, 7, 9, 12…

These days, I find myself learning how to be a child all over again.

In recent years, life has (necessarily) involved plenty of ‘growing up’ (whatever that really means!) – a big shift from School to a world that is largely about Money Job Romance House Marriage Kids Plans Politics Catastrophes Choices Vacations Service ItDoesn’tEnd Etc Etc.

It’s exciting and necessary.

But in many ways, it’s really not everything.

All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy; it kills him.

Perhaps the more ‘growing up’ we do, the more we need to remember what it is like to be small, to wonder, to love without complications. To enjoy whizzing down a slide without thinking about how to announce your slide ride on Facebook. To be able to tell someone “I don’t want to play with you today” or “let’s be friends!” – just like that. To eat when hungry without worrying about getting fat.

Perhaps we could place equal importance on Big Decisions and Small Things.

Perhaps we could, every so often, leave our suits and aprons at home in favour of donning milk moustaches and eating delicious cookies.

This is Deanna, whiz and powerhouse behind Moustache. I had already heard many good things about Moustache through media and friends – this morning, I got a chance to experience the goodness in person. Yay! As I tucked into a glorious cinnamon cookie and cold fresh milk, I enjoyed getting to know the face and story behind this Cookie Wonderland.

Like so many good things, Moustache is built on passion, genius, the pursuit of excellence and a lot of hard work. I admired the staff’s friendly and calm countenances and the yummy cookies more and more as I learned the realities of building this dream and running this business.

What you see now, a concept that seems simple enough (milk, cookies, the child in all of us and a glimpse of Deanna’s childhood) – is the result of months of brainstorming and resourceful thinking done in pockets of available time. Strings of early mornings and late nights. Careful budgeting. Setbacks and victories.

Blood, sweat, tears and laughs.

Every cookie is baked fresh, on site, with good ingredients like cage-free eggs and generous bites of Whittaker’s chocolate. On that note, I discovered why the peanut butter cookies Kath and I bought yesterday at 4pm were positively glowing with everything melting in just the right places… the cookies tasted like they had just emerged from the oven because, in fact, they had. The Moustache team sends fresh trays of cookie dough into the oven every half an hour to ensure customers get a constant supply of fresh cookies!

Things I love about Moustache: the way it is so bright and user-friendly – walk in and your eyes and nose automatically know what to do. Its warmth and fragrance. The option of buying gift boxes along with your cookies. The menu. The smiling staff. And, of course, the cookies – preferably enjoyed warm with cold fresh milk.

Pop in on weekdays for morning coffee or an afternoon pick-me-up, Saturdays for a treat, or before a show at The Civic (conveniently located a stone’s throw away).

If you miss your childhood, Moustache is an excellent place for reminiscence – if you never had a childhood, make up for it here.

Thank you, Deanna, for a lovely morning!

Moustache – 12 Wellesley Street West, Auckland


Wake up and smell the cookies

I love reality. I love the world. I love the smell of it. I love it.
~ Andrea Corr

Bake these soon, won’t you? Preferably in the black of night. With the brightest lights in your kitchen switched on – and no competing smells in your kitchen (i.e. well after dinner time). Eat some* till two in the morning. With company, so the blinding temptation to eat them all doesn’t engulf you and make you very ill indeed.

* Slip the remaining “some” into a container, and leave them in a safe place. Away from prying eyes, teeth and fingers.

Your oven will sing with maternal pride as the little balls of dough stretch and change and become ready for consumption. The cookies will lead you into a happy drunken stupor, as your eyelids take on the world-slicing powers of a kaleidoscope and show you tiny identical wedges of cookiecookiecookie.

Your nose may tell you it never wants to smell anything else ever again.

When at last sleep clutches at your eyelids and happy brain, you will find that you sink into a deep spell of sleep and the richest of dreams…

* And in the way the best dreams go (when you wake and wish it weren’t just a dream), you’ll find a hidden stash of cookies in the morning that smell just like the ones in your dreams. You can still dream your Sunday away.

Thanks Kath for the recipe! :-)

I’m also submitting this entry for Sweet New Zealand, hosted this month by Arfi at HomemadeS by Arfi. Click here to join in the Sweet NZ fun!

Story of today: while it rained, I cooked

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!
~ My Fair Lady, The Rain in Spain

The kitchen is a nice place to hang out when it’s pouring outside!

This morning’s experiments: orange + kahlua ganache truffles, lime + dark chocolate ganache truffles, and lime buttermilk* cake with a light lime juice/icing sugar glaze.

Cake is now sitting in tummies of flatmates, neighbour and friends (and me) – and truffles will be despatched by mail tomorrow after I check with the courier that they will survive the ride… cooking is certainly more fun when there are more people around to eat!

In other news, last night was -> the rugby (which I watched a tiny bit of) – and The Wizard of Oz. Mind still caught between Tin Man and the Yellow Brick Road today.

* = yes, I KNOW the word of the week has been buttermilk, but I’ve now finished the carton of it at last!

Spiced Applesauce Cake

I believe that some of us are genetically predisposed to love food, whereas others are not so blessed.
~ Judith Jones

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen – Spiced Applesauce Cake (adjusted the quantity of some ingredients).

Haidee has the cake, so I’m not sure if it was a success – we’ll find out tomorrow!

As for yesterday’s brownie, thank you for your comments – they were delightful to read :-) My flatmate Matt took the brownie to work and his colleagues apparently ate it! :-O

Happy Friday!

Pastry and Coffee Cantata

When I was 13 years old, I said to my parents, “I want to make pastry.”
~ Michel Willaume

A delightful morning is had by: making pastry for dinner tonight and blogging now to “Coffee Cantata” by Freiburger Barockorchester

Though I am now rapidly running late for work… more thoughts later!

Thank goodness for hungry boys

A full belly makes a dull brain.
~ Benjamin Franklin

I met Annisha in my first few weeks at university, and somehow we stayed friends despite our awkward first conversation in class (I was shy and not so good at reading faces; she was having a “don’t talk to me!” day). 6 years later, I am sooooo glad we can roll off the couch in laughter, cook together in the kitchen, attempt singing French songs while in our pyjamas… you know those people with whom you can sit at a bus stop waiting for a late bus, and have fun the whole time? She is like that for me.

Wellington was blessed with warm sunny skies today and we made the most of it! We had coffee with Haidee at Espressoholic, then spent the afternoon strolling past the buskers on colourful Cuba Street, eating a late lunch, traipsing in and out of shops…… ahh, perfect! No urge to buy much however, except a very CUTE secondhand book “Accommodating Brocolli in the Cemetery – or why can’t anybody spell?” by Vivian Cook :-) On the back of this book is printed: “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.” (US President Andrew Jackson). Ahhhh, language, words, English, I love you, even though you are one of the craziest languages in the world.

Passed this cute wall and window by Swonderful (a funky Wellington shop) and couldn’t resist snapping a photo of it:

Nish and I made dinner tonight for 3 boys (2 of them my flatties) and ourselves.

The cookbook project continues… from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#26 Greek-Cypriot Salad – Page 188
#27 Moist Chocolate Cake – Page 374

From the talented cook Nish:
Baked chicken with lemon, chilli and herbs

Salad: ‘generous’ is the way I would describe it – feta, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, oregano, onion, garlic, red wine and vinegar (the recipe had called for red wine vinegar which I didn’t have… oops)… for some reason I could imagine a large Greek family huddled around a table eating this.

Chicken: wonderful, fresh and flavourful with the lemon and chilli, browned and just yummy.

Potatoes: always the perfect complement to food, spuds. These were salted and herbed… heartiness.

Cake: butter, sugar, eggs, chocolate, flour, rum (used in place of brandy, which the recipe called for)… and a thickened sugar syrup poured on the top of it when it was cooled, to moisten it. I found this ok, but certainly not the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had ;-)

Sure glad the boys were here to help eat everything. Nish and I were way full from our 3pm lunch and could hardly stomach our food – and the glorious 3 boys sat eating, even saying the food was delicious, while it all disappeared into their skinny selves.

If all the raindrops were lemondrops and gumdrops

…oh what a rain it would be!

Wow, random, thinking about Barney songs.

What a day…… for part of the afternoon, I was draped like a sick bird (or ballerina with 2 broken legs) on the couch at home. I had left work early because I couldn’t sit straight or think straight there after all. My head was totally achey, and I felt chocked up with rubbish. Hello Sore Throat, Runny Nose, Achey Eyes… :-(

How absolutely disgusting, after a splendid weekend with friends in Beach Wonderland (Coro). Maybe I overdosed on sun……? Is such a thing possible after too much cold wind in Wellington???

Anyway. In view of my exploding head and growing nausea I decided to do 3 things:
1. have a bath (mmmm)
2. wash my bedsheets (at long last)
3. make something in the kitchen

It is thing-to-do #3 that I will write about today.

Peeked in the fridge. What did I have? Oh yes, lemons aplenty from my parents.

I thumbed through “Falling Cloudberries” (as is my habit now) lazily, not really thinking I would make something from here today. But to my delight, I saw:

#7 Little Lemon Cakes – Page 261

OK! I feel immediately better.

I made the mix with the butter, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, flour, lemon rind, milk, baking powder – mmm what a good smell! And put dollops of it into two muffin trays since I haven’t yet bought myself ramekins.

Alas, the icing sugar didn’t really work, and I don’t know how to fix it. It was just wet and clumpy – so I guess I won’t be using it…

Hmmm and the oil and flour on the trays were evidently not enough… the cakes are stuck… oops. Taste = fluffy and light and lemony, not too bad.