Barbara (aka The Baking Queen) is not only my neighbour but
also a dear friend. She is a good cook but her specialty is baking. She bakes
all sort of wonderful things from savoury scones and quiches to chocolate
profiteroles and smidgen cupcakes and send them over the fence for Bob and I
(I’m quite certain that she gets commission from our local gym!) One of my favourites
is her savoury scones.
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp of butter (approx.) or about 20 grams
1 tbsp each of bacon, tomato, onion, capsicum, parsley (all
chopped) and grated cheddar cheese
Cracked black pepper
½ cups of milk
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
Mix flour with baking powder and salt and rub butter into
the mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.
Add chopped bacon, tomato, onion, capsicum, parsley, grated
cheese and pepper (to taste). Add milk and mix together gently with your finger
tips until it forms into soft dough.
Gather the dough and pat it down on the floured surface
about 2-3 cm thick. Cut into wedges or square or cut into small rounds with
ring cutter if you fancy. Glaze with extra milk and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Glenochy certainly is a paradise for outdoorsy
people. It is about 45 kilometres from
Queenstown. The activities that you can do here include hunting, fishing and
paragliding, to name just a few. Adventures through the lens are also good –
Bob had enjoyed photography in and around Glenochy on our last full day in
Queenstown (we were flying home the nest day).
Another cookshop style dish – can go with either rice, mash or
bread rolls. When I was in Bangkok in September last year, I had been to Foo
Mui Kee Restaurant, Rama 9 Rd for this dish.
My recipe below is quite close to theirs or it is at least what
For 2 people, you’ll need
2 pork chops (650 grams), skin removed
Salt & Pepper to taste
500 ml chicken stock
A dash or 2 of Maggi Sauce (optional)
A dash or 2 of Lee & Perrins (or any Worcester Sauce)
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoon plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons corn flour
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Season pork chops with salt and pepper and brown them in the
pan on both sides with a little bit of oil. Place them in the slow cooker and
add 300 ml of chicken stock and cook on low for about 5 hours. You can use the
stove top method and simmer them for about an hour – keep checking that there
is enough liquid to just cover the chops at all time.
Lift the meat and leave to cool on a plate– reserve the
cooking liquid. When cool, pat them dry before coating them with plain flour.
Beat the egg and add a little bit of water. Dip the chops in the egg mixture
and then in breadcrumbs until well coated. Rest the crumbed chops in the fridge
for at least 30 minutes before shallow frying until golden brown. Place the chops
on absorbent paper.
Strain the cooking liquid and add more chicken stock to make
up to 450 ml (you might not need this if you cook the chops on stove top) –
season with Maggi sauce, Worcester sauce and pepper and taste, add more
seasoning or diluted with water if needed. Mix corn flour with 2 tablespoons of
water. Bring the cooking liquid to the boil, add frozen peas and bring back to
the boil again before adding corn flour mixture. Stir quickly until combine and
cook a bit further until the liquid thickened. Slice the pork chops and place in a deep dish- pour the gravy over the meat and serve warm with your favourite carb. Enjoy!
As I posted early on that we had a cold snap when we were in
Queenstown. With the cold also came the wind so we had to wait for the day that
was not too windy to ride a Skyline’s gondola up the hill to Bob’ Peak. It was not for my
sake but for Bob’s photography’s.
We rode the gondola half a kilometre up the steep hill to the station on
the Peak and had a good panoramic view of Queenstown down below.
And while Bob was out on the lookout balcony to take
pictures, I chose to stay in the warmth of the coffee shop and enjoyed the view
When I was young, my favourite eating places were
restaurants with Chinese cooks cooking both Chinese and Western style food (of
course, with Asian twists). Our family had frequented several of them. We call
this style of restaurants ‘Cookshops’. They are still a few cookshop style
restaurants dotting around Bangkok but they are not easy to find – some old
restaurants have moved around so you have to be a bit of a die-hard fan to follow
and track them down.
Their typical menus include Beef Fillet Salad (สลัดเนื้อสัน), Pork Chops (ซี่โครงหมูอบ), Chicken Wings in Red Sauce (ปีกไก่เหล้าแดง), Ox Tongue Stew (สตูว์ลิ้นวัว), Prawn Balls with Chinese Mustard Greens (ลูกชิ้นกุงผัดโสภณ)– these are just a few to give you an idea.
This stir fried penne is also one of our favourite
dishes (they use macaroni – but I substitute with penne).When he was
younger my brother was an avid cook – and he cooked this dish quite often. I think I get all the ingredients quite right more or less.
For 1 person, you’ll need
1 cup penne, cooked to al dente, reserve about ½
cup of cooking water
100 grams chicken, sliced
3-4 prawns (I use shelled frozen prawns), optional
½ onion, sliced thickly
1 spring onion chopped to 5 cm long, both white
and green parts
1 tomato, quartered
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Sri Racha sauce (I use Thai version)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Oil for frying
Salt & pepper to taste
A dash of Maggi Sauce (optional)
Mix tomato sauce, chilli sauce, soy sauce in a
bowl .Heat oil in the wok on medium high heat, fry chicken pieces until cooked,
add tomato and onion. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes then add tomato sauce mixture.
Stir to combine and add prawns and cover the wok for 2-3 minutes. Push the
mixture to one side and add egg on another side until half set. Stir again to
combine. Add penne, a bit of pasta cooking water (half to start with, add more
if you like your pasta a bit softer), season with salt and pepper. Add spring
onion and cook 1 minute further until the green bits wilt. Remove from heat and
serve with a dash of Maggi sauce.
Note: If you don’t have prawns or don’t fancy them,
just omit or substitute with sliced chorizo or frankfurter.
This is Ginger – Kerryn’s kitten. Kerryn is my dear friend Barbara’s
sister. She has a lovely big home newly built in the country and I visited her
last month with Barbara.
When we were in the living room soaking in the warm sun came
this little mewling. This gorgeous little kitten was curious who was speaking
English with funny accent in her domain. Kerryn kept an eye on me when I scooped this
cutie up in my arms since she still remembered that one of Babara’s cats decided to
defect to our house which is next door to hers 4 years ago. Honestly, it could
not be my fault - I was never a cat person until Pipi came into my life (at her
own volition, of course:). It is just that I have a soft spot for dogs and cats and I could
not help giving Pipi some cheese and cuddles when she meowed at me on the fence
is a small township south of Auckland (the late Sir Edmund Hillary
was schooled here in this town when he was a boy). It used to be part of the
Franklin District but for some reasons Franklin has been merged with greater Auckland at the end of 2010
while Tuakau has been included as part of Waikato.
Tuakau Bridge was built in
1933 over Waikato River linking River Road with Port Waikato and Highway 22. It
is a reinforced concrete Arch bridge only 210 metres long. The bridge has
become one of the landmarks for this area.
Arrowtown is a small town about half an hour drive from
Queenstown. It was established during the Otago Gold Rush period in the 1860’s.
You can read more about Arrowtown’s rich history (literally indeed) here. The main drag (Buckingham Street) is quite
cute with shops in the old small buildings. I bought a packet of pain-killer from this pharmacy when we were there. They even have Thai restaurant here
but we didn’t drop in as still quite full from late breakfast.
In the old-style sweet shop The Remarkable Sweet Shop, their
shelves are packed with sweet treats.
Another attraction is the old Chinese Gold Miners’ Village
with well preserved cottages. This is where Chinese immigrants created their
own accommodations and facilities.
This is a guest post from my cousin Bow in Italy. She is a
marine scientist and married to a Japanese gentleman who is working in the
international agency in Rome. She is expecting a child (a girl - any day soon)
but still has a lot of energy to make beautiful yummy looking things like this cake.
"I decided to make this cake because all pastries in
Rome are way too sweet, which I personally don't like it. I prefer the way that
Japanese create their own version of cakes and reduce a large amount of sugar.
The combination of light sponge cake, strawberry, whipped cream, and a hint of
rum syrup is absolutely gorgeous. More importantly, it is very easy to make! If
you follow this recipe,***
you will fall in love with it."
Strawberry Shortcake (Birthday Cake Recipe)
Time: 2 hours (6 hours or a day cooling time)
Number of servings: 1 cake
18cm (7.1-inch) round cake pan
2 eggs *room temperature
60g (2.1oz.) granulated sugar
60g (2.1oz.) cake flour
20g (0.7oz.) melted butter
20ml hot water
1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. rum *kirsch, brandy, or any kind of liquor you like
300ml fresh cream (heavy whipping cream)
1&1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
a few drops vanilla extract
1 tbsp. rum *kirsch, brandy, or any kind of liquor you like
1. Line the round cake pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 170C
2. Beat eggs with wire whisk in a metal bowl. Mix sugar and place it over a
bowl of hot water and melt the sugar and warm them up to body temperature. Then
remove from the hot water and beat the batter on high speed with an electric
mixer until white and fluffy. Then on low speed, beat for about a minute to set
3. Sift in flour little by little and gently cut through the mixture with wire
whisk until somewhat combined. Then using spatula, sprinkle melted butter, and
quickly lift up the batter to mix.
4. Pour the batter from heights of 11 inches (30 cm) into the pan (like ribbon)
and drop the pan lightly on the counter to raise the air bubbles out of the
5. Bake at 170C (338F) for 25 minutes.
6. Place a cutting board and a paper towel on a wire rack. Then place the cake
pan upside down and cool with the pan on top.
8. When it's completely cool, wrap with plastic wrap and rest the sponge cake
in the fridge for a few hours. *you can store it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days
and decorate the cake when needed
1. Mix granulated sugar and hot water until dissolved. Then mix rum (if you
1. Combine fresh cream, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and rum (if you
like) in a dry, clean bowl. Float the bottom of the bowl in ice water, whisk
the cream until it forms a soft peak.
2. Slice the sponge cake crosswise into 2 layers. Gently brush the sponge cake
with syrup (brush all the surfaces which will be coated with cream).
3. Place one layer of the sponge cake on a plate. Coat the surface of the
sponge cake evenly with the cream. Place cut strawberries over the creamed
surface. Then coat again with the cream. Place another layer of sponge cake,
and frost top and side with the cream. Garnish with strawberries.
4. Rest the cake in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours before you serve. In this way,
you can easily cut the cake.
***Recipe and "How To" video from Ochikeron at COOKLABO.
Kawarau Gorge Road from Cromwell to Queenstown turns into
Gibbston Highway at some point and there lies Gibbston Valley or ‘Valley of Vines’. There are several wineries in this area; many
of them also have restaurant as well as cellar door and wine bar.
We are not such a wine drinker so we chose to do cheese tasting
at Gibbston Valley Cheesery instead of wine tasting. We also discovered super yumlicious and sinful
ice-cream here. Our favourite is “Dark Malt”.
It comes in small tub but full of flavour. We even contemplated coming
back here the next day just for their ice-cream.