Sunday, September 25, 2011

a few of our favourite things

Miriam: When living in Scotland several years ago, I discovered the delights of Tunnock's Tea Cakes. They're a bit like mellowpuffs, but soooo much better as the marshmallow resembles raw meringue mixture. I have seen these occasionally in New Zealand, and the other day couldn't go past buying some when I spotted them in New World. They are good as they ever were, and the packet of six didn't last long at all!

Becs: I go through a fair bit of vanilla, as I make up 2L of custard each week for Posh Porridge. Lately I have been buying my vanilla off Trademe - for around $13 incl postage you get 10 lovely fat vanilla beans. I have bought Tahitian beans from Willyow and Tongan from Kaukovi and enjoyed both their products. A couple of months ago I decided to start brewing up my own vanilla extract which is now ready to use. It's very easy to make, into a large glass bottle I placed 12 vanilla beans (split in half lengthways) and poured in 3 cups of vodka (use a decent high-proof one, I used Stil). After sitting in a dark cupboard for 8 weeks my vanilla is now a beautiful amber colour and smells divine. Apparently you can keep topping up the bottle with vodka for a while as the beans have so much flavour; I made nearly a litre so it should keep me going for a while...

Libby: Little & Friday has already featured among our favourite things but I feel every visit is worth a mention. I spent the weekend in Auckland with Miriam and Little & Friday was on my priority list. This time we visited the Little & Friday within Martha's Fabrics in Newmarket and it's every bit as lovely as the original on the North Shore. The cakes and tarts are freshly made and beautifully, simply presented. This gorgeous pear tart tasted just as delicious as it looked.


  1. Cheers for those vanilla links Becs! For some reason I hadn't thought of trying Trademe. I too have been making my own and have been trying to tell everyone I know to do it - sooo much nicer and cheaper! Well, depending on the vodka I suppose. From experience I can definitely vouch for the fact that you can use the beans again (in custard too). Once they stop giving as much colour you can also apparently grind them up and put them into porridge or brownies. Imagine that for breakfast! :D

  2. I make my vanilla essence the same way. It's amazing and safe to say I am always happy to lick up the spills...
    We have made lots of different flavoured vodkas this way too - our best yet was using wild blackberries, it was syrupy and amazing and made the best ice cream!

  3. Yum post guys! I've also been doing vanilla essence this way for awhile - it made fantastic Christmas presents a couple of years ago. I kept our bottle of vanilla going a couple of years. Thanks for the trademe tip, I always forget to look on there for stuff like this!

  4. What a great tip for getting vanilla beans from TradeMe - I never would have thought of it. I have been planning to make some bottles of vanilla extract from Xmas gifts, so this will be a great source for my vanillla pods. Thanks for sharing.
    Sue xo

  5. Thanks for the vanilla bean tip-off!!! And Little & Friday is on my must-do list for Auckland next time. Have heard so much about it!

  6. Miriam - have just been in Capers Epicurean in Rotorua for dinner and noticed they had a huge stack of those tea cakes in their pantry section! I was wondering what they were too..


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