Friday, 20 May 2011


Hello luvs

Im feeling so relaxed and happy as I near the end of my trip down under. I've been in Christchurch for the past week with my family. Its a bittersweet return to my home town which has changed considerably since I left it 10 years ago. Its desperately hurting after the earthquake which has caused most the the central city to be closed since February 22,  many people to lose their homes and for some their lives. It wont be the same again, so many of my favourite past times are just memories. I can't go to the Honey Pot Cafe for the hummous and pita plate or the Jet Set Lounge for a drink any more. But the main thing is to be here with my family and to be helping Christchurch get back on track by enjoying whats here and open and by eating out where you can.  And so I did....

We had a family dinner at JDV in Merivale and I went to Tonys teppen yaki in Riccarton, but  I've also eaten a lot more home made food, which I loved after my 2 weeks of indulgence in Sydney.
I have a few photos to share, sometimes I think I need to tone down the millions of photos I take each time I'm out for dinner. Not just for the people Im sharing dinner with but for my own enjoyment as well so i didn't snap every single meal as I sometimes do.

Last weekend after I arrived we had a family & friends lunch, seeing old friends and new friends in the form of little babies that have been born since I've been gone.
Mum and I made a great team in the kitchen. I made spiced roasted beetroot, goats cheese and lentil salad and a gluten free apricot & ricotta baked cheesecake. Mum made her amazing pumpkin and kumara soup and a red onion and feta tart from an Annabelle Langbein cook book. (a popular kiwi chef)

I spent 4 days down south visiting my Nana and family in Dunedin and Balclutha. Firstly with a lunch with the whole family in Dunedin at Ironic opposite the old railway station continuing my new found love of all things seafood. I ate a magnificent Thai style seafood yellow curry and drank a pint of Macs pilsner. mmm

Spending 3 days in Balclutha, free of internet and the usual stresses of city life I got the recipies for Nanas best treats I remember from my childhood. Cheese rolls and pinwheels for lunch and for dinner I made whitebait fritters (admittedly Im not a fan but it was fun to make with my Nan) and my first taste of oysters, battered and shallow fried. I had two and liked them more than I realised!
We also had a NZ staple, roast lamb. Its comfort food, it reminds me of home and makes me fell warm and loved.

As I continued my tour of all people and places close to my heart I had to visit Wellington and some lovely friends who have an adorable little girl. I lived in Welly for 2 years straight out of Uni its where I found my feet in the TV biz. I love the place although it seems tiny and quiet now when I compare to my life in London. Its true its windy and cold and small, but as they saying goes 'You can't beat Wellington on a good day' and its so true, it really turned it on for my 24 hour visit. No wind, blue sky. Perfect. Welly has loads of cafes, bars and restaurants nestled in a valley surrounded by terraced houses and bungalows and beautiful bays either end. Pretty I'd say and I love a good scenic coastline, its fills me with happiness. I had delicious cocktails at Library and Havana (fondly remembering my 21st Birthday celebrations there years ago) then during the day coffee at Sweet Mothers Kitchen a quirky Oklahoma style cafe, I tried the fejoa and coconut cake. Fejoas are the most delicious fruit which I never see anywhere but NZ. Apparently they don't travel well, I guess we grow them and eat them straight away because they're delicious.

Later on I strolled along the waterfront then down Lambton Quay where I tried some of the cupcakes from Tempt. Double ginger with lemon frosting & Banoffee cake. Sugar overload!

Finally lunch at Maranui cafe in Lyle bay, a bright and retro looking cafe in the Maranui surf club over looking the perfect blue sky and turquiose sea views. I had a blood sugar stabalising avocado and tomato on toast with a fejoa juice.

Now I'm back home in Christchurch  for my final night in NZ and Mum has made me beef stew and a rolled pavlova. What is this you ask? Well it is what it is, rolled up. A slightly different recipe to your usual pav in order to be able to roll it. You spread it out quite thinly and don't cook it for very long, around 10 minutes so it doesn't cook very crisply. Mum made a 4 egg white pav (as opposed to 6 used in other recipes) its less sugary and more chewy. Inside is cream, yoghurt and lemon curd then dressed with masarated strawberries. WOW this is an amazing way to serve a pavlova. A traditional NZ dessert.

Heading homeward tomorrow, a last night in Sydney and then the journey back to London. How lucky I am. I do realise and appreciate it and I'm happy to be able to share the adventures with you all.



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