Bread is very important to me. I love it fresh, I love it stale and ready for toasting, l love it with cheese, I love it in particular – fresh or toasted – with good salty butter. I love the way it mops up your plate after you’ve had a particularly tasty tomato pasta dish. I love the yeasty smell from the breadmaker as it cooks yet another loaf of homemade bread. I love making my own Brown Soda Bread and, most importantly, eating it. In short, I can’t fathom a life without bread. That was why it was so important, after I moved to Christchurch – before the coming of the breadmaker – to find a local source of decent bread. The only time I ever use slice pan or a sliced loaf from the supermarket is when I’m temping and need something quick and easy to make my sandwiches for lunch. But it’s not something that I’d chose as part of my normal daily life.
I think that my interest in the Mexican combination of chocolate and chilli may have been originally sparked from watching the film adaptation of Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate in college. The fire of chilli and the dark richness of chocolate seems, to me, to be a rather good combination. The Chocolate and Chilli Biscotti I picked up recently to accompany my flat white (coffee) at the Underground Coffee Company Café in Christchurch was a good example of this and put my mind musing over other ways I could use chocolate and chilli together.
New Zealand baker Dean Brettschneider was one of the people that I encountered at the recent Savour New Zealand in Christchurch. Together with Lorraine Jacobs, a Cuisine food editor, he has recently published Taste, the third in a series of quality books on baking. At Savour New Zealand, when not signing stacks of Taste and his other books, he gave an eagerly anticipated class called Kneading the Dough in which he made a loaf of my favourite sourdough bread.
Those of you who are regular readers may have noticed that it’s been quiet on Bibliocook over the last week or so. The reason for this is because I have recently returned from a road trip up the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island with my mother and aunt who were visiting from Ireland.
Having thought that there wasn’t too much different between the New Zealand and Irish climates, I’ve been amazed to discover that lemon trees grow here. And, what’s more, they actually fruit too! While living with the boyfriend’s parents in Nelson it was a great treat to go out and pick some lemons from a tree that fruits year-round but, as we live in much colder Christchurch, I didn’t think that we would have that option ourselves.
The days when you get a call from your boyfriend saying “don’t plan anything for dinner tonight. I want to take you out” don’t come too often so, no matter what you’ve been thinking about cooking, it’s time to put it aside. Especially when you discover that you’re going to New Zealand’s only Moroccan restaurant – Simo’s in Christchurch.