Category: Living in New Zealand


Peter Gordon’s Tomato and Chilli Jam

A couple of my jars of Tomato and Chilli Jam Before I came to New Zealand I had only vaguely heard of Kiwi chef Peter Gordon. From articles that popped up every so often in the English newspapers that I read, I knew that he cooked at The Sugar Club (still, I think, a truly brilliant name for a restaurant) and that he was designated king of what became known as fusion cuisine. That all changed when I made my first batch of his Tomato and Chilli Jam. Now he is known as the person responsible for coming up with the recipe of this addictive addition to sandwiches, sausages, noodles, patés, cheese, cold meats or just about anything that needs a little zip. I discovered it through an article in Cuisine magazine and you’ll find the recipe right here.

A tale of camping food and missing sleeping bags: Sloppy Joes for Campsite Cooking 2

A tale of camping food and missing sleeping bags: Sloppy Joes for Campsite Cooking

Last weekend being a long weekend, the Boyfriend and I decided to abandon Christchurch and open our personal camping season with a trip to the small town of Geraldine. For me, camping is a challenge to see what I can cook with limited ingredients and resources and this, the first camping trip of the year, was an opportunity not to be passed up. The night before we took off, I dug out Nigel Slater‘s Real Fast Food – the perfect camping cookbook – and started studying the recipes. So intent was I on packing the bag of food and so concentrated was the Boyfriend on getting us out the door on Saturday morning that no one thought to pack those camping essentials – the sleeping bags.

Cup conversion issues 7

Cup conversion issues

Although I’m not a huge fan of her bare basics books, Delia Smith’s website is a very useful reference point. She has a helpful table of conversions here that are especially good when you’re trying to convert a recipe using American cup measurements to metric but, alas, there are no references to the New Zealand or Australian cup. I didn’t initially realise that these measurements were different – a cup is a cup is a cup, right? – but apparently not.


Beer and food matching at Canterbury Brewery

One night a few weeks ago the Boyfriend and I accompanied our Scottish physiotherapist housemates to a celebration of International Physiotherapist Day. Now, going to celebrations of other people’s careers is not something that we would normally do but, as this was taking place at Christchurch’s Canterbury Brewery, we decided to make an exception – just this once, you understand.


A weekend hideaway

Governors Bay Hotel After a stressful week, all you want to do at the weekend is get out of the city (without driving too far), stay in a comfortable place (without paying too much) and eat some good food. In search of just such a place, the Boyfriend and I stayed at the historic Governors Bay Hotel last weekend. Although it is only about a forty minute drive from Christchurch, once you emerge from the Lyttelton tunnel, which cuts through the Port Hills directly south of the city, you feel like you’re arriving in another, more relaxed world.

Pumpkin heaven: Spiced Pumpkin Soup 6

Pumpkin heaven: Spiced Pumpkin Soup

My only experience of pumpkins while in Ireland was at Halloween during my first year in Dublin. One of my then housemates bought a pumpkin and carved it into a grinning Jack O’Lantern to sit in the window. I had only ever made Jack O’Lanterns from turnips before and was amazed at how easy it is to hollow out a pumpkin rather than spending ages digging your difficult way through the tough flesh of a turnip! With touching (and undeserved!) faith in my cooking abilities, he set the pumpkin flesh aside and informed me that it was my job to turn it into something edible. I failed the challenge, I must admit. Every time I opened the fridge the watery yellow flesh rebuked me and it wasn’t too long before it made the trip to the dustbin. Since then I’ve seen pumpkins appearing in Irish supermarkets in time for Halloween each autumn but I’ve never even been remotely tempted.

Cooking classes 0

Cooking classes

One of the things that I do enjoy about living in New Zealand are all the cookery classes that are on offer. Not only the usual night courses at the various schools around Christchurch, but also food shops offering classes in the use of their goods à la the Mediterranean Food Company and Café and tonight I’m looking forward to a class with Judith Cullen of Judith Cullen’s Cooking Classes fame.


Fair Trade spices in Oxfam

My local Oxfam Fair Trade shop here in Christchurch has started stocking Fair Trade spices, including ground ginger, cinnamon – ground and sticks, whole cloves, whole and ground black peppercorns and chilli powder, all...