Monday, October 1, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: Confession time...I am rather fond of supermarket baked goods.  This appreciation was likely passed on from my Grandma who would shop up a storm at the Foodtown bakery in preparation for morning and afternoon teas.  The rainbow cakes above called to me last week at New World.  Feeling under the weather with a nasty cold, the lure of fluffy sponge and mock cream was too much, and I popped one in the trolley.  Other favourites include supermarket-style orange chocolate chip muffins (not a drop of real orange of course), chocolate sponge rolls with mock cream and New World bakery pizza buns, topped with bacon of sorts and a sweet BBQ sauce. Terrible stuff I know - but dare I say it - so bad it's good. You never want to look too closely at the ingredients label, but nostalgia is a strong thing, and that rainbow cake was sweet perfection.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rosemary for remembrance

Life changed three years ago when Bec's husband Mike tragically died while running a half marathon.  I'm not sure how one makes sense of the sudden loss of a husband and father-to-be; perhaps this is a lifelong process.  But within the grief, there has been a lot of life and love too.

We started the blog when life seemed especially hard and we wanted a way to embrace some of the lovely things in life.  Lovely Wee Days gave us a practical focus; a reason to bake, a reason to write.  Baking on Thursday, a favourite thing on Monday, a few mid week treats to write about too.  With time, life has taken over and the blog has become quieter.  Becs and Daisy have moved to "Mummy's special house",  Posh Porridge is a weekly market sell-out, Libby's busy with her own bun in the oven and I'm focused on wedding planning for December.

But no matter how busy we become, Mike's life and loss is never far from our thoughts.
Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance, so today I'm going to make something with rosemary and remember Mike. xxx

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Libby and I made a trip down to Oamaru last weekend, to visit a few favourite places. Our first stop was the Oamaru Farmers Market held in the carpark opposite the Loan and Merc. Still a small market, we were especially taken with the little caravan selling Southland-style cheese rolls. Peckish after the drive from Christchurch, we enjoyed our unpretentious $5 combo of cheese rolls and strawberry milkshake served up by the "cheese roll lady".

Next stop was Moeraki to have lunch at Fleurs Place. I loved the seafood hotpot below, especially pulling the crab to bits at the end.  Delicious.  The others all had blue cod in various guises which received top marks too. Don't expect anything fancy as this is rustic, tasty food done well.

Back in Oamaru, well worth a look is the Real Good Fudge HQ.   They used to sell at the Farmers Market, and have recently taken the leap and set up their own cafe/shop located in the historical precinct of Harbour St.  Their fudge is excellent, and reasonably priced.  We chose the caramel, passionfruit and mocha slabs. Whilst googling for a link I found out they sell on Trademe - for $15 they will deliver 3 slabs anywhere in NZ.  How nice would it be to find that wee package in the letterbox?!

Dinner, and then lunch the next day was at Riverstone Kitchen, one of my favourite places.  Do Oamaru residents known how lucky they are to have RK on their doorstep?  Restaurant standard food and service with pub/cafe prices and portions, Riverstone offers excellent value for money.  We went with the tasting menu for dinner, which changes daily and is a steal at $55 for five courses. Our highlight was the duck main, with celeriac puree and brussel sprouts like never before; in all honesty we wanted to lick the plate. At lunch the next day we couldn't go past the venison pies.

Another highlight of our trip was our luxurious accommodation at Highfield Mews.  Give those grim-looking motels in Oamaru a wide berth and stay here. Beautifully fitted-out rooms that are spotlessly clean and much posher than the nightly tariff would suggest.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Noosa 2012

Daisy and I are just back from a lovely sunny week in Noosa; here are a few favourite things in addition to the old favourites already talked about here and here.

The Little Cove Coffee roastery and cafe is only five months old, and served up the best flat whites we had in Noosa this time. The location is not fantastic overlooking Weyba Rd, but the coffee far superior to what is served in most of the beachfront spots. Lovely staff, and the toasted banana bread is delicious.
Daisy loved beach-time with her friend Danny, the days were hot so twilight prove the perfect time to hit the beach

Clandestine Roasters is another new spot for good coffee, they are part of Belmondos Fresh Food Market, a Nosh/Farro/Moore Wilson type set-up, but on a smaller scale.  They had great produce, meat and deli products for reasonable prices.

I was most impressed at this display of fresh herbs for sale at the Luke's supermarket at Noosa Junction.  If only our local offered something similar instead of those tasteless little hydroponic pottles...

While it is always hard coming home and leaving 'summer' behind, thankfully spring seems to have arrived in Christchurch, and my garden was able to supply mint, parsley, spring onions and rocket for dinner last night. Roll on summer!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: I have just spent a (wet!) weekend with Libby in Wellington... we visited the City Market where purchases included a block of organic butter from the Biofarm stall, chicken liver pate from the macaron lady (which I just realised I left in Libby's fridge, damn!), an excellent soy flat white, plus a visit to Libby's favourite herb stall at the adjoining produce market.  The fresh herbs were all beautiful, but alas not so ideal for transporting, although I did purchase a little pottle containing a blend of finely chopped lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaf for the grand sum of $2.

Another favourite was the visit to the Zany Zues factory shop near Petone.  They sell their range of fresh cheese, yoghurt and ice cream, much of which you can't buy elsewhere, and there was plenty on offer for tasting.  The ice cream was fantastic and amazingly good value.  I loved my Dark ghana chocolate cone while Libby had the Pistachio and almond brittle, which warranted buying a 1L take-home pack for another rainy day.  My favourite yoghurt was the feijoa topped one which they had sadly sold out of, however the owner promptly offered to nip into the factory next door and make one up on the spot.  Well worth a visit.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: I use this old cast iron frying pan almost every day.  Mike rescued it years ago when it was being binned by a catering company...and it has done the hard yards ever since.  Perfect for just about anything, and it can go from oven to table.  Seen pictured is Bill's fried Singapore noodles from Bill's Basics....fried noodles with an egg scrambled through and a base of fresh ginger, curry powder, chicken stock, brown sugar and soy sauce; it's amazing how the curry powder really lifts the flavour.  I like to use prawns or chicken.

Monday, July 30, 2012

a few of our favourite things

Miriam: I have been on the look out for a tea pot for a long time now.  The other day, I was so sick of not having one, I bit the bullet a purchased this cute wee tea pot from the website Maisy&Grace.  It arrived a few days later, all beautifully packaged, and I have been enjoying loose leaf tea ever since.  I will still keep my eyes peeled for a bigger pretty tea pot, but for tea for one or two this does very nicely indeed.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: I am enjoying the local library finally being back in action post-earthquake.  While I have no need to borrow fiction much now (thanks to my Kindle....the love affair continues) my first stop is always the cooking section.They often have a good range of new releases if you strike it lucky, and I find it's a good way to 'try before you buy'.  I scored a lovely pile of newish books the other day, one of which - the Alice Hart - I may add to my collection, judging by the number of post-it notes I've stuck in it to earmark promising recipes. Bill's Basics is rather good too, I have been thrashing his Singapore noodles lately.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: Tom yum has been on my menu quite a bit lately.  I was inspired after reading this recipe.   On first glance it does seem like you need lots of bits and pieces, but one trip to the Asian grocery and you have everything you need, most of which can be stowed away in the cupboard, fridge or freezer for next time you have a craving for Thai.  I like to add either some raw prawns or chicken, and (unconventionally) fresh noodles and lots of green veges like broccoli, for a filling, vege laden dinner in just minutes. The chilli hit is ideal for winter colds. Tom yum is also a great vehicle to use the kaffir lime leaves my 5 year old tree has been busy growing over the years and that scarcely get used...

We think this snug new strawberry hat of Daisy's is pretty cute.  Nanny bought it for her from a stall at the Sunday Artisan Market.  The clever creator not only handknitted it but also spun and dyed the wool this is possible for the grand sum of $25 I have no idea but it will do good job of keeping her little head cosy in these cold winter months.

Miriam: These Vita-Weat Lunch Slices are actually a favourite thing of Mike's.  He refers to these as his 'man crackers' due to their gigantic size and thickness.  While I'm not a big fan myself, Mike loves them as they can satisfy his after work but too early for dinner hunger.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A few of our favourite things...

Becs: Winter salad inspiration - no, not made by me, but enjoyed for lunch at Med Foods recently.  A simple salad of honey roasted yams, crispy bacon, baked ricotta, toasted pinenuts and dressed salad greens.  Sweet, salty and delicious, and one I will be recreating at home.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: I love this old scalloped-edge mirror I found at John's Collectables in Temuka, when Miriam and I were holidaying there over New Years.  I had been  keeping an eye out on Trademe for one and was thrilled to find this one for a very reasonable price. It is incredibly heavy so in these shaky times has been bolted to the wall.  Daisy and I have just moved into our new house so it is lovely to display special treasures again. 

Another favourite house-related thing is the gorgeous hot pink Fairydown feather blanket I bought for half-price at Farmers last week.  Our family has long been a convert to these amazing blankets, and they have recently released the kids range in bright colours.  Continuing in the colour theme, when in Auckland last month I discovered Collected by Leeann Yare  a colour-filled shop in Mt Eden with loads of beautiful things.  I found the turquoise rug there, after much hunting for a rug for Daisy's room that didn't feature anything Dora or Disney related!

Libby: I was given a potted hyacinth last year and after it finished flowering I abandoned it outside and completely forgot about it. I discovered it again over the weekend and was delighted to see that it has popped up again... I am taking it as a sure sign that SPRING is on its way! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

a few of our favourite things...

Miriam: After returning to Auckland from a lovely weekend in Christchurch with Becs and Daisy, I suggested to Mike that we go for an afternoon walk.  It turned into quite the walk, when at the top of the hill Mike 'popped the question', and presented a ring and bubbles to seal the deal.  I was delighted to accept his proposal, so we continued our celebrations with dinner at Depot.  Given that we were seated at the bar (that was practically part of the kitchen bench) there was no opportunity for long soppy romantic gazes, but rather we were in the midst of the action, fixated as we listened to the staff banter and observed each meal being prepared and plated. Our food (raw tio point oysters, roasted rangitikei chicken with israeli couscous, aubergine & yoghurt; brussels sprouts with walash pancetta & walnut crumbs, beets with marinated beetroot, feta & walnuts) was perfect without being too fussy, and we washed it down with wine and Tuatara beer, both of which were on tap.  We left feeling well sated and pleased with our decision making on all accounts!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A few of our favourite things...

Libby: A weekend in Christchurch always means Saturday morning at the Christchurch Farmers' Market. When visiting on the weekend I picked up 1/2 a dozen macarons from J'aime les macarons. My new favourite flavours from their winter flavours is peanut butter and jam, closely followed by Milo - brilliant green shells filled with Milo ganache! You don't have to visit the market to get your hands on some of these beautiful macarons - there are two stores in Christchurch or you can order online.

Miriam: On Saturday Mike and I popped into Galbraith's Alehouse for a wee tipple.  We discovered this Gunnamatta beer by Yeastie Boys on tap.  This beer is a "tea-leafed" India Pale Ale, made with earl grey blue flowers.  I've recently become quite fond of earl grey tea, and this beer helped to further solidify my fondness.  You can really taste the earl grey flavours coming through, and it's so unexpected but yet so good. See if you can hunt this beer out and taste it too!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: My friend Anna was married last week, and instead of formal flower arrangements the tables featured a random array of glass jars filled with beautiful flowers and foliage.  I ransacked the Kerikeri opshops and was happy to score some really old Agee preserving jars for bargain prices, along with other beautiful old jam jars that must have been sitting in someones pantry for far too long judging by the age of the labels.  (The sort of thing they sell at vintage shops like the wonderful Flotsam and Jetsam and the like for ramped up prices) I was at the Christchurch EcoShop the other day, this is where the junk from the dump that is deemed saleable ends up.. and was thrilled to find half a dozen original Soda Stream bottles.  The rippled glass looks beautiful filled with water and a pretty bloom or two.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Miriam: Now that the weather is colder, the first thing I do in the morning, or as soon as I get in the door at night, is pop on my slippers. So snuggly and warm.  I bought this pair last year from NZ Nature.  At the time, they were around $100, which I thought was quite expensive.  However if I worked out the cost per hour of wear, they'd probably be one of my best value purchases!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: The Taste Bistro stall at the Christchurch Farmer's Market has been serving up some delicious food lately.  Chef Alicia cooks up a storm and the ready-to-eat meals are the sort of unpretentious/tasty/slow-cooked comfort food you would make at home if you had the time and/or budget to have the oven on for hours and hours. My favourites include the slow-cooked pulled pork sandwiches and the incredible braised oxtail or lamb shanks. The homemade bread and salads are delicious too, often it's a chickpea, barley and seasonal veg concoction, and service is always provided with a smile. Unlike the scorn dished up by a well-known Christchurch chef peddling fancy tacos at the market. I should have known better than to order at the end of the morning when more fat than meat appeared to be on offer, but didn't expect my request for less flab to be met with such contempt. (Sorry to brickbat as it's not our thing but arrogant chefs rile me!) Note - the photo above is pinched from the CFM facebook page - I never get a chance to photograph the food as it is tucked into pronto.

Libby: I've never been a fan of tonic water. I always felt it ruined perfectly good gin but this Quina Fina (you say it "kee-na fee-na") is very drinkable. It's only very gently bitter and not too sweet - perfectly balanced. I like it on its own with lots of ice and lemon. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Becs: Last week Mum and I made a trip down to Dunsandel to visit the talented Honey Anderson...cook and gardener extraordinaire.  Honey has a woodfired pizza oven in her garden, handbuilt by a visiting WOOFer, so we had the treat of cooking our own pizzas for lunch.  They took barely a minute or two to cook, and were beautifully crisp.  I went home with cuttings of raspberries, blackcurrants and rhubarb for my new garden, as well as some of Honey's elderberry preserves. Of course, a pizza oven is now on my wish list...however the size of my patch plus the price tag of the ovens available commercially may put a dampener on this!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A is for... arancini

I took these delicious arancini to a potluck dinner where you had to bring a dish starting with the letter A. It's a reasonably limiting theme, the letter "A"... a flick through a few favourite cookbooks offered up recipes involving artichoke, asparagus, apricot and apple of which only apple is in season. After a bit more creative thought I decided on arancini with arrabiata sauce... double points for two dishes starting with A!

These are time-consuming but not difficult to make. Once cooked they can be set aside and reheated in the oven until the cheesy centre melts when you need them. Same goes for the sauce - make in advance and warm a little before serving.

Don't be put off by the cooking method - deep frying is surprisingly fun! And fast! All you need is a saucepan and a litre of cheap-ish vegetable oil like canola. It's worth investing in a candy thermometer to make sure you get the temperature right the the exterior seals as soon as it hits the oil. If it's not hot enough they'll just soak it up. If immersing food into a pot of bubbling fat concerns you, be reassured that if you get the temperature right and drain them properly, you'll have almost as much oil at the end as you started with.

A little mozzarella goes a long way in this recipe. It seems like a tiny cube when you're shaping the arancini but once cooked it melts into a delicious goey centre. A little ham or prosciutto stuffed in with the mozzarella would make these arancini even better  - although it has a gorgeous gooey texture, mozzarella is reasonably bland so a little saltiness from some ham would be perfect.

Arancini with arrabiata sauce 

Makes 25-30

For the risotto...
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely diced
2 cups aborio rice
A splash of white wine
2 litres hot stock - chicken or vegetable
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Heat a heavy-based lidded pan over a medium-low heat, add oil and onion, cover and leave the onion to soften for 10 minutes or so. Stir occasionally and make sure the onion doesn't catch on the base of the pan. Add a splash of water if needed.

Turn up the heat to medium-high and add rice. Stir and toast for a couple of minutes. Add a splash of wine and let it reduce. Turn the heat down to medium and gradually add the hot stock. Add about a 1/4 cup at a time and let the rice absorb it before adding more. After about 20 minutes all the stock should be added and the rice cooked (but with just a little firmness to it).

Stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Leave to cool. To speed this part up, spread the risotto out in a shallow pan and refrigerate.

To shape into balls...
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
2 cups breadcrumbs
150g mozzarella, in 1cm cubes
lots of oil

Lightly beat two of the eggs and stir through the risotto. Once thoroughly mixed, scoop up 2 tablespoon-sized amounts of risotto and using wet hands, shape into a ball. Press your thumb into the centre of the ball, place a cube of mozzarella into the indentation and cover with rice and make it look nice and round.

I used a mashed-potato scoop to scoop up the mixture and it was the perfect tool for the job - it made sure all the arancini were the same size so they cooked evenly. A big spoon would be fine if you don't have a mashed-potato scoop in your kitchen drawer.

Once you have a tray-load of risotto balls it's time to crumb them. Whisk the remaining eggs and splash in the milk to make an egg wash. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Dip the arancini into the egg mixture then roll in breadcrumbs. Pat them on to cover well. Once you've crumbed all the arancini, leave them to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until you're ready to cook them.

Now for the fun part... deep-frying! I used a litre of canola oil in a medium-sized saucepan and cooked 3-4 arancini at a time. You want the oil to be at least 10 centimetres deep. Heat the oil over a medium to high heat until it reaches 180 degrees Celsius (it's definitely worth investing in a thermometer for stuff like this) using a slotted spoon, gently place 3-4 arancini into the hot oil and leave them to bubble away for 4-5 minutes. If they're browning too fast or slow, adjust the heat accordingly. Once golden brown, remove from the oil onto paper towels to drain for a couple of minutes. Eat straight away or reheat in the oven before serving.

After cooking cool and strain the oil back into the bottle to use again. Or just to store until you figure out how to get rid of it.Whatever you do, don't pour it down the sink! And it pays to label the bottle "old oil" so it doesn't inadvertently get added to a carrot cake or similar!

I served the arancini with arrabiata sauce - a tomato sauce with a bit of a chilli kick.

The sauce...
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
chilli flakes (to taste)
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a small pot over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook gently for a few minutes. Don't let it brown. Add the tomatoes and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes to reduce a little. Add a few shakes of chilli flakes (go easy to start with, you can always add more later). Once cooled, process briefly in a food processor or with a stick blender for a smoother sauce. Season with salt, pepper and extra chilli flakes to your taste.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A few of our favourite things...

Libby: This funny-looking contraption is a tea infuser! I've been using it lots to make loose-leaf herbal tea by the cup. It's very handy at work when I just want to make a cup, rather than a pot of tea. You just squeeze the handles to open the scoop, trap lots of tea leaves inside, then place in your mug and pour over boiling water and leave it until it's how you like it. I bought mine from t leaf T in Wellington but you can pick them up from kitchenware shops too for about $6-$7.

Miriam: Yet another favourite thing that started with a recommendation from Libby. This Scanpan Chef Pan has fast become one of my most favourite kitchen items. It's non stick (but you can use metal utensils on it), it goes from element to oven, and it's so versatile; you can make a stew or a pancake in it.  Since buying it at Moore Willsons a few months ago, I also now receive emails from Libby with recommendations of good dishes to make it, like this delicious pumpkin dish, or this chicken, leak and peer salad Bec's posted on the blog last year.  I can't believe I've gone all these years without this pan; now I couldn't do without it!

Monday, April 30, 2012

A few of our favourite things...

Becs: I have been the fortunate recipient of lots of home grown quinces this year...aside from making a few jars of quince paste I have roasted most of them to serve with Posh Porridge.  The method I use is based on one from the Dunsandel Store Cookbook and is the easiest I have tried with minimal prep involved - quince are a pain to cut/core when raw.  Wash the quinces well, rubbing off the fuzz on their skin with a cloth. Cut in half or quarter if especially large and fill a large lined roasting tray.  Cover with a cup of sugar, and add an inch of water to the pan.  Cover with foil and bake at 150 C for 3 hours or so until tender.  Once cool it is easy to remove the skins and cores.  Pour the syrup into a saucepan and reduce until desired consistency and sweetness.  These can be preserved in jars or frozen.

Monday, April 23, 2012

a few of our favourite things

Miriam:  When I was at Libby's a couple of months ago, I admired her recipe book stand, and so (with Libby's blessing) ordered one of my own too.  Coincidentally, I had recently bought a clock made by the same designer and Becs had independently bought a few items from the online store too.  Check out the Objectify store here for the full range.  The Ripe cookbook featured on my recipe book stand is another of my favourite things too - so many great recipes.

Libby: I don't usually have an "afternoon" tea break during the week while at work. It's not that I have a stressful job and am too busy to stop, it's just not a habit. But on the weekend I love to bake something nice and have it with a cup of real loose leaf tea. This weekend, inspired by Time for a Little Something I baked Scott's Farewell Square, (from Ladies A Plate).

Monday, April 16, 2012

a few of our favourite things...

Miriam: Whittaker's Chocolate has featured on Lovely Wee Days before, with their Berry & Biscuit and Ghana Peppermint both getting mentions. The peppermint is normally my favourite in their range, but now this Peanut Butter is a close second. Worth a try if you're a fan of peanuts.

Becs: Well they wouldn't win any prizes at an A&P show, but they are plentiful and delicious!  My crop of tomatoes this year has suffered from watering restrictions, a poor summer, and general neglect. Despite this I have been picking a good haul every few days.  My enthusiasm for preserving has waned a bit by now, so I have moved onto the minimal effort option - roasted tomato sauce.  No recipe needed, just fill a few oven trays with roughly chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, peeled garlic and any other veg you have lying around.  I throw in a few sprigs of rosemary and some fresh bay leaves.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.  Slow roast for a couple of hours at 160 c until the liquid is cooked out.  Blend up and freeze for a deliciously concentrated pasta sauce.

Friday, April 6, 2012

hot cross buns 2012

I use this hot cross bun recipe Libby discovered years ago, and posted last year. I have always found it to be an excellent recipe but had mixed results this year, and thought I would update the recipe with a few 'critical success factors' that improved them for me. Today's batch was perfect.

So here's the revised recipe for 2012, complete with a few tips...

- Don't be too heavy-handed with the fruit; too much produces a heavier bun

- Soaking the fruit overnight or at least for half an hour makes a huge difference, they are plumped up and delicious. I cover the fruit with boiling water, and grate in the lemon and orange zest at this stage too. (I always soak dried fruit for any kind of baking...or use some of the whisky soaked raisins I always keep in the fridge for the market)

- Using the water from the soaked fruit adds a nice sweetness to the buns, and helps them colour up well while baking, I always do this.

- When leaving the dough/buns to rise it should be covered tightly with clingfilm to produce the warm, humid conditions needed. A teatowel thrown over does not suffice; the dough will dry out and form a crust on the outside, preventing it from rising.

- Making the dough at night and leaving the shaped buns to rise somewhere cool for the 8 or so hours overnight will work in a pinch, but will always be heavier. Ideally let them rise somewhere warm for 1-2 hours; it gives a much lighter result.


100g raisins or sultanas
100g currants

Cover with boiling water and leave for an hour until plump, grate in the zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon.

50g flour
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water                     

Combine in a small bowl leave for 10 minutes to go foamy.

500g flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp dutch cocoa (for depth of colour not flavour)
1 cup warm water
60g butter, cubed

Combine flour, salt, spices and 10g of the butter. Mix well and add the warm water (you can use the water from the soaked fruit). Knead for about five minutes until a smooth dough is formed. Add extra flour if needed.

Gradually add the remaining butter bit by bit, kneading it into the dough. At this stage I sometimes add a third of the drained dried fruit.

Leave to rest for 10 minutes then mix in the dried fruit and citrus zest. Add extra flour as necessary - you want the dough to be smooth and satin-y.

Cover with gladwrap and leave to rise for an hour or so.

Shape into 12 buns (weigh them if you want to be exact!) and leave to rise until doubled in size on a tray or in a shallow tin.

In the morning, make a paste with 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1tbsp oil and enough water to make a smooth paste (about 2-3 tbsp).

Using a piping bag, pipe crosses onto the buns then put them into the over for 20-25 mins at 190 degrees Celsius. While they are baking, prepare a glaze with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup of boiling water and stir until smooth - add a little orange zest or vanilla paste if you wish. When the buns are baked, place them onto a cooling rack and brush over the glaze.

Enjoy hot from the oven with real butter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Libby: Lately I've been making a delicious vinaigrette with capers and parmesan. It's basically this recipe by Julie Buiso, though I use red wine vinegar and the only thing I am precise about is the oil to vinegar ratio. As the recipe suggests it's ideal with a sturdy, bitter leaf like radicchio but it's such a tasty dressing it's also good with something plain like buttercrunch. 


Becs: I am a technology laggard at the best of times, so my recent purchase of a Kindle e-reader was quite proactive! I really enjoy reading and wasn't sure if reading this way would appeal so much, but I just love it. (I love its' snug new Cath Kidston case too...) Perhaps best of all, there is now no unfortunate lag between books when I lament the lack of reading material. A new book is just the press of a button away via my amazon account.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A few of our favourite things

Miriam: I am a picker and a licker in the kitchen. I think that's why Becs gave me this tea towel for my birthday back in October. I've just 'framed' it, using an embroidery ring. It now hangs proudly in our kitchen which I think sets the scene nicely.

Libby: My freezer is crammed with things I stash away with the best intentions but never get around to using: overripe bananas to turn into banana bread... leftover bread to blitz into breadcrumbs and half-used bags of frozen vegetables I've long since lost interest in. But in amongst all, carefully wrapped in newspaper I found a small bag of whitebait that I'd bought back in January! A very exciting Sunday evening discovery! The whitebait was turned into fritters with the help of a couple of eggs, a very small amount of flour and some salt and pepper. We ate them with a squeeze of lemon on an unseasonably warm and sunny Wellington evening. It felt like perhaps Summer wasn't quite over.

Becs: I have been on a preserving binge lately. Batches of tomato chilli jam, tomato sauce, pear and walnut chutney and spicy plum sauce have been brewed up, and bottled with the help of my ever faithful wide neck funnel. An essential tool to get sticky things into jars neatly and with a minimum of mess! The funnel was a present from Mum several years ago, and is one of my most used kitchen tools, as I use it weekly when bottling sauces and compotes for Posh Porridge.
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