Last week, a couple of days back into working and with no sunshine to report, I made my debut on radio. Radio New Zealand have been doing a show called Kiwi Summer for the last few weeks, and each day they've featured a blogger or columnist for ten minutes in the slot called 'on the radar'. I was thrilled to be asked for an interview, and of course I happily obliged. We covered blogging, food, and that burger dating blog I wrote in August, and if you're interested you can have a listen here.
Before the interview, I'd thought a bit about what was currently on my radar, and although the interview remained pretty general, here are a few bits and pieces that although I didn't talk about, I am currently really quite into.
1. Summer stone fruit generally, and plucots specifically
I'll most often answer 'fruit' if ever asked what my favourite food is, and nothing beats ripe summer stone fruit for a dose of nature's candy. Perusing the bins at Moore Wilson's yesterday I chanced upon plucots - a cross between a plum and an apricot. They are absolutely delicious, less tart than a plum and less fuzzy than an apricot. They are a revelation in taste and texture, and a welcome new addition to my fruit bowl.
2. Fresh flowers, and hydrangeas everywhere
If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, the way to mine, I've commented before, is with champagne. I'd like to add to the list fresh flowers, although I'm perfectly happy picking them or buying them for myself to be honest. On my walk to work there's a lane lined with hydrangeas of coral, white and blue, and they remind me of one of my favourite flats - four of us girls lived in Hataitai, and our overgrown front garden path was filled with these impressive large beauties. One afternoon my friend filled the house with them - in the bathroom, in the kitchen, and next to each of our beds. Nothing says a happy home like fresh flowers, and seeing hydrangeas everywhere I am just loving.
3. Coffee in a KeepCup
Having been through varying stages of coffee-reliance in my past, particularly when making them for a living, the coffee I enjoy most these days is on a relaxing weekend day, newspaper or friend or date in tow. Some work mornings though, if I've been to an early gym class or if I've had a late night, a well-made espresso will be the best $4 a day can bring. Too often lately I've been taking these back to my desk, and biffing the takeaway cup into my trash can without much thought at all. It adds up, and I'd seen KeepCups come out last year but didn't really think I had cause to bother with buying one. But the habit continued and the time finally came on pay day, when I walked up to Supreme on Woodward St and invested in this green and pink number. Every little bit counts, and whilst christening mine with a perfectly made flat white I was told baristas will love you for it. So there.
4. Live music galore!
Wellington has an impressive line up of visiting bands at the moment, and it's great to see we don't have to travel too far to see great gigs. I missed out on Beirut tickets (and I hear the show was awesome) but I did go to Fleet Foxes at the Wellington town hall on Friday night. One of my girls was in town, and we ate and drank all day before dancing all night. Pretentiously plaid fans who took it all a bit too seriously aside, the music and harmonies were incredible. I called my overseas sister during one of the songs and got back a text message saying "tears at my desk!" For the remainder of the summer I've locked in tickets to Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, a new find thanks to my music-obsessed friend Laura, and my music-obsessed Dad, funnily enough. They're siblings from London, and my current favourite is this song here:
I've given up on dreams of being a sibling trio of talented musicians, and these days leave musical talent to everyone else in my family. Other gig tickets with my name on them coming up include Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie and Florence and the Machine. Live music, yes please.
5. Chocolate and chilli and more chocolate and pikelets
A pretty exciting project I'm involved in meant that before Christmas I received a gigantic box of Whittaker's chocolate. On Sunday morning the only social engagement I had was a pancake party, with a gaggle of girl's who are about to move out of their house by the beach. With Dark Ghana in my cupboard and cream in my fridge, along with a distant memory of reading about an enticing Chilli Chocolate Sauce, I whipped up a jar and took it along. There were leftovers, so afternoon tea in Aro Valley yesterday was pikelets adorned with Kapiti vanilla bean ice cream, golden syrup, and that luscious creamy sauce-with-a-kick. Easy, impressive and highly recommended.
For the pikelets I turned to my trusty Edmond's bible. When flashy cookbooks and celebrity chefs and glossy pictures all get a bit overwhelming, Edmond's consistently comes through with the goods on the classics.
the perfect afternoon tea treat
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk, approx
Sift flour, BP and salt in a bowl. In another bowl beat egg and sugar until thick. Add with milk to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (for me this meant using my whisk, and ensuring there were very few lumps!) Drop tablespoonsful of the mixture from a spoon onto a hot, lightly greased non-stick frying pan. Turn pikelets over when bubbles start to burst onto the top surface. Cook the second side until golden and serve immediately. Makes about 10.
6. Blue cheese and date jam
Before my little sister and I set off on that disastrous road trip, I tweeted about heading off to Matamata. Jesse Mulligan of the hilarious and wonderful Auckland Food Blog suggested a stop off at the Kaimai Cheese cafe and factory for some cheap cheese offcuts, and a coffee and snack. As you may remember, no stops we made were those of the relaxed, planned variety; they were more the panicky, asking for directions yet again type of stops.
This summer of road tripping was a lot more footloose and fancy free (despite the sideways rain) and on the way back to Wellington we made it to Kaimai for a hungover brekky and a nice big coffee. We also stocked up on cheese. Their mature cheddar is off the freaking chain, but the combo that has been luring me home after work with its looming presence in our fridge is their creamy blue. Nestled alongside the delicious date jam my dear friend Laura gave me for christmas, you have yourself heaven in a mouthful.
All sorts of other exciting things are brewing, and even though I have a slight backlog of blog posts, you'll hear all about it in due course!
What's on your radar in your neck of the woods?