Tag Archives: Summer

Oh, seductive sun…

I have a friend here in this city who works at Metservice – in weather forecasting. I really used to think he was crazy. I also thought weather horribly boring.

I realised over the last few days though, how much I admire the unruliness of the weather in this city after all. Wellington is CRAZY. It does what it likes, and bows to no one. The wind is unthinkably horrid, like a thousand kids stamping their feet in a department store, like a witch cackling to herself in a castle, casting spells to make you cry! The rain… well, it’s just water, but together with the WIND it tears your umbrella into pieces (seriously). The sun… ahh, the sun is seductive, bouncing off the shimmering waters, clinging to your skin like a ecstatic perfume… It makes this place unbelievably beautiful…… I really think the sun here feels like the caress of a lover – where else would you go? Why wouldn’t you love me? You love me. (Yes I do, I respond).

So it was a beautiful day today, and I spent some hours with the lovely Claire in the gardens, wandering through colourful stores, and gulping down gelato at the beach (gulping because the sun and wind were melting it pretty fast). Last day of freedom today, before work re-starts tomorrow.

Lunch. Now, lunch was a special affair. We bought some funky pasta I can’t wait to cook up, and the Italian man behind the counter invited us to sit! Relax! So we did, and shared some focaccia between us – a dance of buffalo mozzarella, cured ham, tomato, basil – what is it? Just a sandwich? Really? It tasted more like magic…

Now for a barbeque – suppose we need to start cookin’!

Cathy came for lunch

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was a privileged guest at my friends’ fun wedding yesterday where we celebrated with them in speeches, feasting, dancing… and awoke this morning to a most glorious day which melted away any resulting sleepiness. Breakfasted with Ian in the Botanic Gardens in the midst of raging roses, and then it was time for a quick shop and some even quicker attempts to have lunch prepared for my guest Cathy.

Cathy is one of the sharpest, kindest, funniest people I know – and it was a real pleasure cooking for her… this time I decided to pick from “Falling Cloudberries”:

#9 Oven-Baked Fish with Tomato & Parsley – Page 105
#10 Allan’s Mum’s Sweet Potatoes with Sugar, Cinnamon & Orange Juice – Page 244

The fish took less than 2 minutes to prepare and put into the oven. Snap, done. Fresh parsley is pretty darn different to dried parsley too, so good.

The sweet potatoes took a little more effort, but the bubbly sweetness was pretty rewarding in due time… this particular recipe called for sugar, cinnamon, orange peel, orange juice – things like that. Mutually complementary sweetness.

Sweet potatoes are one of my Grandad’s favourite foods in the world – he adds them into everything, barbeques, Chinese rice porridge, dessert… anyway, today I thought about him as we ate them soft and spiced and sweet and comforting…

I’d asked the fish man at the supermarket which white fish to use for baking. I really love how his eyes lit up as he pointed to the monkfish right away, chattering about how the flesh held together perfectly for baking, etc… and I really LOVE how the fish smelled so FRESH and perfect when I came home, I nearly forgot it had to be cooked!

Much of the rest of today was spent with nature!


It took me years to figure out that you don’t fall into a tub of butter, you jump for it.
~ Claudette Colbert

All good things start with butter it seems… so, this evening’s recipe was:

#6 Kourapiedes – Page 135

Butter, sugar, egg, etc… brandy substituted with rum + kahlua… sticky, gooey, sticky.

Browned in the oven, they then played in the icing sugar like frolicking dolphins…

Tessa Kiros said they melt in your mouth… well, she’s right. They do. :-)

In which my family came to dine

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~ Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

This post won’t be a long one, since I am very sleepy!

My family drove down today to stay for the weekend :-) Naturally, I thought a good dinner was necessary. It was also the perfect opportunity, I thought, to try 4 recipes from “Falling Cloudberries” tonight! Remind me never to be so ambitious again… I started at 4pm and was still rushing along at 7! (Luckily it was mostly fun! Plus we got to shop at MOORE WILSON’S :-)

On the menu tonight were:

#2 Tzatziki (Yoghurt, Cucumber, Garlic & Mint Dip) – Page 76
#3 Stuffed Eggplants – Page 117
#4 Spanakopita – Page 153
#5 Baklava with Nuts & Dried Apricots – Page 129

… along with 5-grain sourdough with dukkah, olive oil + balsamic vinegar, barbequed lamb, mini stuffed red peppers, and vanilla ice-cream as extras.
And: Dad’s red wine
And: Matt’s coffee with Kahlua

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth, but you are dooooomed if you try cooking all by yourself (if you are me). I owe tonight’s successful dinner to good help. For instance, Ben shelled pistachios and Matt manned the barbeque + washed dishes along the way. The afternoon rolled along in a whirl of squeezing cucumbers, de-fleshing eggplants, breathing in the scent of tomatoes + garlic, making filo triangles, drizzling syrup over the nut & apricot baklavas…

What I love so far about Tessa Kiros’s book is the way love + family just seem to consume every page of her beautiful book… and how her recipes involve simple things like cucumber, Greek yoghurt, tomatoes – so average people like me can follow them. I also like how her recipes require time and effort, but in perfect amounts so you don’t look at them and despair before you even begin. And she sure makes good food!

So we didn’t have a big enough dining table, so my family, Matt and Tim had to sit on chairs/couches and balance plates on our laps and put glasses on the floor – but it was fun nevertheless…

And now, one warm shower later, I’m sleepy, and my hands still smell faintly of garlic and almonds (kind of eeky and gross, but cool too).

Wow, this post sure got long. Bonne nuit x

Summer is here!

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
~ Wallace Stevens

Our dinner tonight tasted of Summer. Truly.

The good Matt did pretty much all the cooking… fresh fruity salad adorned with cashews + walnuts; monkfish seasoned with herbs + spices and cooked on the bbq; a glass of Gewürztraminer each. His parents were here too, and we joined hands to say a prayer before partaking of our meal. The sun streamed in through the windows and the wind carried faint strains of a choir singing somewhere…

What else is there to do afterwards but melt some chocolate, add in dashes of vanilla, black pepper, cinnamon + nutmeg and dip strawberries in the mix.