Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wedding cake

Lovely Wee Days has been neglected over recent months as other activities have taken our focus. Just after Christmas, Mike and I tied the knot in a joyful celebration with friends and family in my home town of Rotorua.

We wanted to combine desert and a wedding cake so decided to have a croquembouche.  Apparently it can be difficult to ensure the croquembouche toffee sets in December humidity, so research and networking (mostly by my brother David) was required to find someone in Rotorua willing to attempt such a masterpiece.  We were fortunate that Alex, from the Ciabatta Bakery was able to help us, and liaised with Roy, who took on the challenge.  We were thrilled with the end result, which looked stunning and tasted divine (and the toffee held it all together perfectly). 

As is tradition, the cutting of the cake involved chopping the top off the croquembouch. The delicate profiteroles were filled with a vanilla bean custard, and as Roy had made about 400 we even had some leftovers which we were able to enjoy again at the next day BBQ.  A great start to our married life!

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 herself...how 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.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...