Two weeks in New Zealand and I didn’t want to leave. Being on holidays and it being summer, rather than grey and gloomy Irish winter, certainly made things harder, especially as we had such a good time catching up with family and friends on that side of the world. We thoroughly enjoyed the main reason for our trip – the Boyfriend’s sister’s wedding last Saturday – especially as the reception was held in a recently opened vineyard in Moutere, Woollaston Estates, and I had more than a few chances to sample their 2006 Nelson Sauvignon Blanc!
Special mention must go to the Boyfriend’s mother for cheerfully catering, twice daily, for at least eight people. I’ve taken down plenty of recipes from her notebooks. Now all I need is a little Irish sunshine to give me an excuse to make her Rice and Chickpea Salad or maybe I could get motivated to whip up a batch of her Chocolate Chippies this weekend…
While I didn’t manage to bring back as many foodie items as Heidi did from her North Island trip – the Boyfriend had to fit another rabbit trap and a new fishing rod somewhere, after all! – I still managed to squeeze in a pile of cookbooks, a couple of new purchases and a few old ones from my Christchurch kitchen shelves.
Although I picked up Nicola Galloway’s Cooking for your Child as a gift for a friend, after spending hours looking through the Boyfriend’s mother’s copy of these commonsense recipes and advice for friends and family of all ages, methinks I’ll have to spend some more quality time with it before passing it on. It is a mine of useful information on catering for people with food allergies and intolerances and, like me, she believes in using real, wholesome butter rather than messing around with those interfered-with spreads and margarines. I also brought home The Great New Zealand Baking Book by Allyson Gofton – the perfect thing to keep at the cottage for wet Saturday afternoon baking sprees and a dear old copy of that Kiwi classic, the Edmond’s Cookery Book, a present from the Boyfriend’s aunt to keep me entertained after I was knocked down by a courier truck in Auckland two years ago.
Some of the tempting new NZ cookbooks that I found on sale but could not, alas, justify in buying included The Confident Cook by Cuisine writer and Savour New Zealand 2007 Programme Director Lauraine Jacobs; Taking Tea in the Medina, an exploration of Middle Eastern tastes and flavours by Julie Le Clerc and and Joh Bougen; and new collections of old favourites from Kiwi writers Ruth Pretty and Jo Segar (Ruth Pretty’s Favourite Recipes and Jo Seagar Cooks). Christelle Le Ru also has a second book out – French Fare is the follow-up to her Simply Irresistible French Desserts and watch out for Passion Chocolat in 2007.
Knowing that the latest edition of Cuisine is waiting at home – I’m on my second subscription now – I avoided that on the magazine racks but, as I return to the stormy Irish winter, I grabbed Taste and the new Julie Le Clerc magazine to fortify myself with descriptions and pictures of summer barbeques and salads, picnics and pool parties. It’s not helping though!