Tag Archives: christchurch


I am sure I don’t need to elaborate on what is going on in Christchurch. Please let’s do all that we can to help.



    Sunday 27 February
    8am – 4pm
    Caffe L’affare, 27 College Street, Wellington
    All cafe proceeds will go towards the Red Cross Earthquake appeal fund.
    Monday 28 February (prep on Sunday!)
    7am – 9am
    The Great Sunday Bake Off
    Drop off your baking at Civic Square or outside Vodafone on Lambton Quay and a crew will drive it down to Christchurch (and film this, so you know where your baking goes).


    Tuesday 1 March
    Mecca (all branches), Auckland
    All proceeds this evening will go towards earthquake relief efforts.


Kia kaha, Christchurch…

While this week has been very grim for just about everyone in New Zealand (I won’t write more on this right now because my words feel very inadequate), I do want to share with you a recipe for some delightful lamingtons that we had at work today. My colleague Grace made them and very kindly shared the recipe with me!

    Dark chocolate lamingtons
    Recipe courtesy my lovely and very talented colleague Grace
    For the sponge:
    5 eggs
    1 cup cornflour
    1½ tsp baking powder
    3/4 cup white sugar
    a few drops of vanilla extract
    For the chocolate coating:
    ½ cup milk
    250g dark chocolate
    ½ cup icing sugar
    dessicated coconut
    Preheat oven to 180°C.
    Separate the eggs. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 5-6 minutes).
    Lower the mixer speed and add the cornflour and baking powder into the egg mix. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolk and beat until combined.
    Pour the batter into a non-stick 20cm square cooking pan, and bake it for 15 minutes, or until the top is light brown.
    Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool on a wire rack for 30-40 minutes. Once the cake is completely cool, cut off the crust and cut into 4-5 cm squares.
    Now prepare the chocolate coating. In a microwave-proof large bowl, break the chocolate into smaller pieces and add in the milk. Microwave the mixture on medium heat for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture, then put it back into the microwave for another 20–30 seconds before taking it out and giving it a good stir again. Be careful not to burn the chocolate! Stir until the mixture is smooth and not too runny. Add the icing sugar in to the chocolate mixture (adjust the amount of icing sugar according to your taste preferences). Note: I personally don’t like using the microwave and prefer the stove top method – but I am sure both will work equally well.
    Final steps! Place some dessicated coconut on a flat plate next to the chocolate mixture. Dip the sponge cake squares in the chocolate mixture and coat them well (best to do one square at a time). Use a knife or spatula to place the chocolate-coated cake square on the plate of coconut, and coat it on all sides. Put the chocolate and coconut-coated cake square on a clean wire rack, then repeat above steps until all the cake squares are coated in chocolate and coconut – and prepare to eat some very delicious lamingtons!

Dinner party @ Nish’s

I hesitated about writing this post, because not long after Nish and I held this dinner party in Christchurch, the earthquake happened. The morning I awoke to news of the quake striking the lovely city I’d been in only days before, was not a calm morning until I ascertained that just about everyone there was alive. Shaken, but alive.

It was very surreal viewing the photos, watching it flash on the news, reminding myself that this was happening in my country… in my previous line of work I dealt with disasters etc so much, that sometimes I thought I was becoming numb to all of this – and that my heart had turned to stone, because I no longer always reacted with emotion. Sometimes my mind willed it all to disappear, or to let it wash over.

Except, really, you can’t just push it away entirely.

You can’t pretend that people aren’t suffering, because they are, and you can’t pretend disasters aren’t striking – all over the world – more than you realise – because they are.

The only thing you have the freedom to determine is the way you live your life, and the way in which you respond to things beyond control, and the way in which you love, I guess – and I don’t mean in a cheesy way!

Which is where I am coming from as I write this post. Yes, the quake left devastating effects. But the night we had this dinner party, we were focused on feeding friends, eating together and enjoying life for what it was – and now, post-quake, there lies something undeniably horrible, without a doubt! – but a chance to build something better too, hereon.

Here’s one thing we can do… donate to Christchurch earthquake relief efforts here:

Nish and I had fun preparing all the food (well, I did anyway, since most of the work was done by Nish, hehe!) and we were waaaayyy exhausted by the end of the night… but it went well, and we had leftovers a’plenty to last us all of the next day!

Our menu in short:

    Garlic prawn & vegetable skewers
    Green salad with Thai dressing (not photographed)
    Portobello mushrooms with garlic & red wine vinegar
    Potatoes with creamed spinach
    Pumpkin with cinnamon and brown sugar (not photographed)
    Chocolate tart with gingersnap crust
    Sticky date pudding

Lyttelton Coffee Company – substantial brunching

I bet you think an egg is something you casually order for breakfast when you can’t think of anything else. Well, so did I once, but that was before the egg and I.
~ Claudette Colbert

Were we full from our yummy visit to Christchurch Farmers’ Market? Oh, yes. As we sat in the car I thought I would just have spinach for dinner and eat nothing else in between. Once we got to Lyttelton though, the spinach idea flew right out of my head – could we resist brunch at Lyttelton Coffee Co.? It did not take me long to decide that that would be idiotic (since I did not know when I’d next be in Christchurch)! We stepped in.

It was very crowded – people everywhere, obviously here for good reason! Fortunately a sweet couple was just getting ready to leave, so Ian hurriedly secured the table while I joined the queue of hungry ones.

I was quite glad to be behind a few others in the queue, since it gave me some time to survey their delightful cabinet selection!

Both of us got long blacks (which were very potent and very good). Food-wise, Ian ordered free range scrambled eggs on toast, while I opted for a ‘vege breaky’, poached eggs with baked beans, hash brown and field mushrooms. Everything on my plate was warm and cooked to perfection. The hash brown was a nugget of feathery potato strokes; the baked beans tasted like laughter; the mushrooms were simply flavoured in the best way so they still tasted exactly like mushrooms, but better. All this, on top of eggs and bread, made for a very substantial brunch indeed…

Leaving us with plenty of energy to walk around Sumner, soak in the sunshine, do some shopping, etc and have a much-needed catch up!

Lyttelton Coffee Company – 29 London Street, Lyttelton, Canterbury – Phone: 03 328 8096

Porridge, fit for a Queen!

There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.
~ Author Unknown

I’ve just had a wonderful vacation in Christchurch – filled with belly laughs, real talk, yummy food, sunshine, rain – and best of all – time with a few of my Christchurch-based friends. It’s more than I can fit into one blog post, so I’ll make a start with Porridge. :-)

Ian and I went to Christchurch Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning – we didn’t get to stay very long unfortunately, as we wanted to drive to Lyttelton and to Sumner too (I wish one could lengthen weekend mornings. They are just so full of promise and potential)! Neither of us had been to the market before, but we knew without a doubt that we were at the right place when we got out of the car… and were met with some fabulous smells! Mmmmm! We followed our noses (and other similarly nose-led people) in towards Riccarton House.

For a split second, I was jealous of all these Christchurch folk who get to visit each Saturday (had to quickly remember we are hardly a sorry bunch in Wellington too!). Wow, what a great selection of stalls – I could hardly focus on anything, it all looked so good.

We headed in separate directions – Ian went on a search for bread and coffee, while I marched on in a purposeful search for Becs’s stall Posh Porridge, having read about it on her blog! I was very pleased to find it and meet the lovely Becs – even if briefly! It was fun to chat, and I couldn’t resist treating myself to some porridge too. It was pretty tough to pick just one out of five delicious-sounding options… but eventually I settled on porridge with rum-soaked raisins, granola and honey…

In short, I felt like a Queen eating this.

And not just because of the regal bowl it came in!

The porridge itself was something else – creamy, with great texture – and the toppings made it impossibly good. Though it was richer than my normal breakfast, I happily melted into the sweet rummy raisins, honey, custard, golden granola… ahhh. Together with some heady Espresso, this was the perfect start to Saturday!

We drove off with smiles on our faces. I don’t know how we fit in more food at Lyttelton, but we did… (more about that soon).

Christchurch Farmers’ Market – Riccarton House – Phone: 03 348 6190

PS. My crazy and much valued friend Paul surprised me with a camera for my birthday… notice the new and improved photos ;-)


Christmas this year was different again. Each year now it is very different, and I never know what will happen in the next year. I spent the weekend with a dear friend and her family down in the garden city (Christchurch)… and got to see a few other friends too in my time there.

We ate on Christmas evening in the garden, savouring the balmy summer breeze

Combined-effort Homemade Tiramisu

Fat ducks, friendly trees and heavenly-scented roses are a true delight to the senses

I was very very tired this evening, so tonight I decided to have a simple dinner of salmon on toast with some lemon and black pepper, stems of raw asparagus, a few slices of havarti cheese – and a peach. Perfection.