New Zealand

road trip…………………Kekerengu

Some days are just made for taking a daycation……………and last Friday was that day. It was one of those days that capture the best of autumn.
Calm, with a sun that is now lower in the sky, but perfectly positioned to  shine through the gold leaves of the vines and poplars as we headed out
of the valley.
IMG_8747We were off heading north to Kekerengu on the Marlborough coast, a blink and you miss it spot halfway between Kaikoura and Blenheim.
We have been wanting to check out The Store, since we started hearing good reports from locals and guests, of its rejuvenation under the new owners.On such a perfect day driving the Kaikoura coastline is magic.

IMG_2245The salt spray casts a hazy finish, and diffuses the bright light .  It is breath taking, the first dusting of snow on the Kaikoura mountain range is
gleaming in the sunshine, at times the mountains jut right into the sea, and the road has been cut through a promontory.

It always brings back childhood memories of travelling up here as a family heading to Kaiteriteri for holidays. Dad would always, prompted by
us in the back seat, toot in the road tunnels, and parents still do it now as it echo’s wonderfully as you drive through.

We stopped at a small beach before Kaikoura to smell the sea air and walk the dog when I literally almost stood on a seal. Basking on a nest
of kelp he blended in so perfectly and was almost indistinguishable from his brown bedding. Not that he was bothered by our presence, just lazily looked up as I carefully backed away.He had friends close by one hopped up onto the rocks to show off his fine form and pose for the camera.

Kekerengu is on a bend in the road The Store has been here for a number of years owned by Richard and Susan McFarlane, one of their sons
has returned with his wife from Auckland and taken it over.
mayThey have revamped the interior, it looks fresh and smart, and the menu has been reworked .A location that is hard to beat looking straight
out to the ocean. You can dine inside, or on the deck with the sound of  the waves thumping the shore in the background  interspersed by birdsong.
may2                                    A glass of local rose, and a bowl of excellent seafood chowder hit just  the right note, we were happy diners.

blog11                                                         You can see why The Store is so popular……………….what a location!

On our way home, as the iconic Nins Bin was closed for Crayfish (lobster) purchases,so we bought fresh, just off the boat groper for dinner.
blog15Hightailing it back home, as we had a call from some unexpected guests who wanted a bed for the night………that’s what happens when you play hooky for the day, we reflected on how beautiful our country is and how enjoyable it is to just up sticks and take a day off to enjoy it. So often  we are en-route to somewhere and are unable to take the time to enjoy the journey and stop along the way. It is something we are going to do more of.

IMG_2267                                                     I hope you have enjoyed this road trip along the South Island’s east coastline.

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ANZAC day………………lest we forget

April 25th is the day when New Zealand  commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and honours its returned servicemen and women.
The date marks the anniversary of the landing of the New Zealand and Australian Army Corp on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign, Turks, French and others from the British Empire, including 8500 Australians and 2721 New Zealanders. One in four of those who served in Gallipoli died. Australia also marks the events on 25th April. With such a huge loss of life, in a small country like ours, it  meant most families in New Zealand were affected. Today, the ANZAC day services have record attendances where many New Zealanders come to pay their respects to those who have fought for their country, and that bloody Gallipoli campaign.

ANZAC biscuits, it is claimed were sent by wives and mothers to their soldiers abroad, because the biscuits travelled well by ship and kept for long periods.
This is the original recipe from the trusty Edmonds cookbook.


PicMonkey CollageA1

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summer holiday moodboard


What do you collect on holiday?……………………..this is my holiday collection.



my holiday moodboard ……………….of a few days away, spent in a favourite part of New Zealand.
It is now sitting at the end of my workspace to keep holiday memories alive.  Peter Mayle’s
Year in Provence was delightful holiday re-reading. I could not resist the classic orange Penguin cover.
I think it is still the best of this genre.


What is it you slip into your bag to bring home?

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Orphans Kitchen a taste of Waipara in Auckland

We’ve  been away……….in Auckland.  I have been to The School   very exciting, stimulating and inspiring.

It is good to have a change every now and then……… to swap the country clothes for city clothes…… to look
out your window at a city scape………compare your country neighbours.with city dwellers, and enjoy the treats
that a city offers.




 We also wanted to hunt out Orphans Kitchen on Ponsonby Road.

It is the hot place to be, everyone is talking about it and they are gathering up a stack of great reviews.

Plus, it is a taste of the Waipara Valley in the big smoke. Co-owned by Josh Helm and Tom Hishon.
Josh cares for front of house and Tom (ex Clooney’s) is the chef component of the pair. Washed walls,
slabs of macrocarpa that make up the tables, and metal stools with sheepskin tops. Jars of light create a
warm ambience. It is unpretentious, and fun they let the food do the talking. There are no bookings, unless
you are a party of 10, where you can dine upstairs.

Get there early…………………….. by 7pm  it was buzzing and full.



There is Mountford pinot on tap,(the Waipara connection) it is Tom’s family vineyard, along with Orphans pale ale
and local Brothers Brewery ale. The wine list is small but well thought out. The menu has small plates and large
plates as well as a selection a selection of sides.

 Our food was beautifully cooked, and the deserts devine. Plates were scraped clean.  Unfortunately there was a
glitch with the camera, photos did not come out, so you will have to be satisfied with pics of the market fish and
Valhrona chocolate mousse on poached slices of tamarillo with black cardamom and chia seeds. Trust me………
the other dishes were just as good. What I really enjoyed is, they let the food shine, there is no complicated chefs
trickery, just  great food, interesting flavours that enhanced,  and executed in a well crafted and very skilled manner.



It is always good to go away…………………see, taste, experience  new things & re-charge the batteries.
But it is also good to come home.


The unmistakable patchwork landscape of the Canterbury Plains.


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