It seems trivial to be thinking about my recent long weekend beach holiday, and food, and blogging, given the recent events that have unfolded following the Christchurch Earthquake. My thoughts are with all of those down there, and everybody knows someone who has been affected. One friend described Tuesday as hands down the worst day of his life; it's just unfathomable. Relief efforts are in place though, and there have been some pretty incredible stories that have come out of the carnage. It's good to see that the entire country seems keen and ready to do whatever they can.
It was then to the beach. My darling friend Shannon was over from London, and we headed up to Matapouri Bay, on the Tutukaka coast. Whenever people ask me where in NZ they should go if planning travel, I always declare "Go north of Auckland!". The winterless north turned on the sunshine for us and it was the perfect spot for a long overdue catch up. We: ate delicious salads, enjoyed 5pm (at the latest!) gins in the sun, made wildly outlandish plans for the future, read trashy magazines, read good magazines, and I started and finished a tragic but brilliant novel by Phillip Meyer. We swam, we sunbathed, we yarned, it was awesome.
Food wise, we embraced salads with that passion that comes when the end of Summer is impending. We had a simple and tasty Insalata Caprese of buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. We also had what has become my stock-standard dish to impress with - ripe nectarine, ripe avocado, thinly sliced red onion, lemon juice and olive oil.
We also had a delicious Greek Salad. Having been to Greece lately, Shannon bemoaned our lack of fresh dill - something I'm keen to try next time. We simply chopped up fresh tomato, cucumber, red onion, kalamata olives and chunks of hard feta cheese, then seasoned well with salt and pepper and olive oil. With roast veges and rye bread it was a tasty and healthy summer dinner.
I'm cooking on Good Morning again this Tuesday, so my weekend plans currently extend to coffees, sun and perfecting my plum cake. Whether Saturday night interrupts those plans remains to be seen!