Toblerone Ice Cream

19 Feb

This is now a thing! Some brilliant genius has created Toblerone Ice Cream and I would bow down to her/him if I knew who it was. Unfortunately, it’s only available in the UK (so far)…

Anyone know anyone who has a way of importing it to New Zealand??

More info here.

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Weird and wacky food trends

19 Jan

I’m always fascinated by the new, weird, wacky and wonderful foods I see being created all the time. You would think that food would get boring, would reach its limits, would somehow just keep going round in circles like fashion trends do. There is, of course, some circularity, with old-fashioned recipes, especially baking, coming back into vogue with the neo-Vintage/mend and make do scene. But there are always crazily wonderful new ideas as well.

As you will know, I can be a bit obsessive with food. So, it’s no surprise that I follow various baking and cooking blogs and Facebook pages and Instagram feeds and constantly see them scrolling down my screen every day. And I’m starting to notice some trends. Here are a few of those trends and some of my favourite examples of each. Be aware that (unless I’ve said so), I haven’t tried making or eating any of these, so I cannot be held responsible for either bitter disappointment or unexpected deliciousness.

Mash-ups

It now seems to be a thing to take two different sweet (or savoury) treats and combine them: cheesecake brownies, Margarita cupcakes, cookie pies, cookie cupcakes … you name it, it’s probably been mashed. Here are some of the weirdest combinations I’ve ever heard of.

Chocolate cake pizza

Ok, so I was hoping that this one would be a strange savoury-sweet melange, but really, it’s a cake with a mixture of toppings that make it look like a sweet pizza. I still like the concept, so I’ve included it here. Could I eat it? In several sessions, perhaps…

Potato chip caramel brownie pie

This one looks pretty disgusting. But I’m sure there will be people out there who will love it. Try this at your peril!

Chocolate chip cookie brownie pie (could they add any more words here?)

Cookie pies have been seen at certain fast food outlets, but these are next level and recipes can be found all over the internet. They look delish, but have got to have a shite-tonne of sugar in them. I guess that’s the point.

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookie Pie. Image from https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/

Doughnut chips

 Well, that’s weekend breakfasts sorted!

Strawberry Pie Cake

Say whaaaat?? This looks very moreish indeed. Now, I just need an excuse to make it. There must be a public holiday coming up soon… and it IS strawberry season in New Zealand… :).

S’more croissants

This is one I’d like to give a go. I’m sure all the Frenchies and Francophiles I know would gasp in horror at this Americanised gastro-abomination, but it combines two delicious things in one heart-attack-snack! I’d do mine with vegan marshmallows, of course.

I could go on and on… but I won’t. For more mash-up inspiration, check out the following links:

Food 52’s best mash-up recipes

Better Homes & Gardens Mash-up recipes

Dessert Mash-ups from Pure Wow

 

Purposely weird or gross

Featuring such gems as Ham and Bananas Hollandaise and Tuna and Jello Pie, this collection of Vintage recipes may not be a new trend, but it is a hilarious rediscovery and will have you gagging… but not for more.

For some reason, lots of food products now seem to have a unicorn equivalent: unicorn cookies, unicorn toast, unicorn everything. But unicorn mac and cheese? Just. why?!?!

Matcha ice cream. Image from http://www.hungryforever.com

Matcha everything. Matcha latte, matcha ice cream, matcha cookies. Matcha overload! It’s not necessarily gross, but it is very … green. But also good, if you like that kind of thing.

I don’t drink coffee, so this is under the gross heading for me, but I’m sure these new coffee trends will delight some.

After the fad of adding butter to coffee, I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone started serving cheese tea. Think I’ll pass on this one.

Techno-cuisine

These kinds of things blow my mind, and would definitely blow my budget. When I lived in England, I once visited a nearby town, Bray, and realised it’s the location of Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant, The Fat Duck. I walked up to the door to peruse the menu and noticed that nothing, bar one example of wine by the glass, had a price next to it. That told me that I couldn’t afford anything on that menu. But what a menu! I don’t have the foggiest what was on it now, but some of Blumenthal’s most well-known dishes include snail porridge, triple cooked chips (simmered, cooled, deep fried, cooled and deep fried again) and bacon and egg ice cream. He is also known for using dry ice in his culinary creations.

Blumenthal wasn’t the first to dream up new-age, multi-sensory, techno-cuisine. Here is an article about the rise of molecular gastronomy.

Healthier versions of favourite foods

I quite like these because they make me feel virtuous. And, you know, they still might not be what you can really call healthy, but at least they are healthiER than the alternative.

My favourite site, as many of you will know, is Chocolate Covered Katie. This brilliant woman has dreamed up healthier alternatives to all your favourite treats. Examples include Healthy Oreos, Healthy Brownies (even Chocolate Workout Brownies! Got to balance out all that Boot Camp, right?), ice cream, breakfasts, pizza… you name it, she probably has a healthy alternative. Katie has also published two books of her recipes: Chocolate Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for you and Hello Breakfast! Both are currently on my wishlist and would be on my shelves if only there wasn’t a self-enforced recipe book ban at the moment. There are only so many recipe books one house can contain!

My other go to place for healthy versions is Wholefood Simply. The latest recipes I’d like to try from this site include Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, Four Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake and 2 Minute Baked Caramel Brownie Balls (pictured below), none of which sound remotely healthy.

two-minute-baked-caramel-brownie-balls-1-of-1

Mend and Bake Do

Vintage recipes are all the rage, as can be seen in books such as Ladies a plate. This genius book contains recipes like the ones grandma used to make… if you live in New Zealand anyway. Some of the culinary delights on offer are custard squares (the ubiquitous kiwi treat), sponges, pikelets (like little pancakes), scones and more.

Carbs on sugar on carbs on fat, or what I like to call Carbolicious! (though I’m not sure I could face eating them myself…)

Loaded desserts such as bubble or egg waffles. These. look. amazeballs! I wish I’d had a chance to try them on my last trip to Auckland. Sigh. They are available at Nitro Cow and now also at EGGLOO.

Ice cream stuffed doughnuts. Need I say more??!!

And finally, Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches. Looks like a combo made in heaven to me.

Imagination gone wild cakes

Massive kudos to the cake decorators out there. I am only an amateur one and I have mad respect for the real artistry of cake decorating. I can appreciate it all the more after having made a few decorated cakes now, not all of which were a success. I’ve also been to lessons with the amazing Paula Jane Cakes (I talk about the lessons here) and to cake decorating shows where I saw some wildly impressive cakes. It seems that you can make anything out of cake these days. Here are some impressive, amazing and just plain weird ones.

Kitty litter cake, anyone? I also found steak cake, Scrabble cake, even an Ed Sheeran cake!

kitty litter cake

Kitty Litter Cake

For more bizarre cake inspiration, head here. Number one is scarily life-like, number two… she can’t even look at the cake! Can you imagine cutting into that?! Number ten just freaks me out. Why would you want to eat that?

Secret gems

I stumbled across this list and would like to share it with you. It looks like a collection I’d like to delve into (after a bit of vegetarianising of the savoury ones, of course). Strange, little heard of combinations of flavours but, seemingly, delicious.

I’ve also discovered Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheese Cakes. Light and fluffy, unlike your traditional cheese cake, they look simply delicious! Anyone in Auckland fancy posting me one?

I’d also love to hear from anyone who has tried making or eating any of the above. I wish I could try them all, but there is so much food, so little time! Please tell me about your experiences with weird food trends. Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

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Review of the High Tea box from The Chocolate Tour

17 Oct

I celebrated a somewhat significant birthday recently, which you can read more about here. As a wee treat to myself, I decided to purchase a chocolate box from my friend Rosa’s inspired business The Chocolate Tour.

Like me, Rosa has always been a foodie. She bakes great stuff, can tell you the exact location of the best custard squares in the land and also loves children’s books. How could I not be friends with her??

Rosa’s latest venture is a chocolate subscription business. That’s right: CHOCOLATE DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR STEP!! Each month there is a different theme and I was lucky enough that my birthday month (also Rosa’s) was a High Tea theme. Another love of mine. Who doesn’t like a selection of tasty treats on fine china with a lovely cuppa to boot? There’s just something about the ritual of tea that really appeals to me. It’s something I’ll write about in another post so, for now, let’s focus on chocolate. Rosa only uses chocolate made by New Zealand businesses, so this is also a way to support New Zealand-made goods. It’s all craft and artisan chocolate, so you know that a lot of thought, effort and love has gone into the making. It’s not just your bog-standard, sugar-filled, supermarket stuff. It’s truly decadent, work of art stuff.

I ummed and ahhed as to whether I should treat myself, but then thought, why on earth not? There are a few options on the website: monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly chocolate deliveries, or a one-off box. There are also other one-off gift or treat options.

I decided on the one-off themed box; this way I could try out some new treats and support my friend’s business, but not break the bank… I may be able to justify more regular purchases once I’m working full-time again :).

The High Tea Box

Contents: Hogarth Craft Chocolate’s Rose and Vanilla Tea bar, Chocoyo’s bonbons, Baron Hasselhoff’s mallow puffs, Little Blues Chocolates’ strawberry and almond tea cake chocolates, She Universe’s Bula Bean, She Universe’s Chocolate Sweetheart.

I started with the beautiful Hogarth Craft Chocolate’s Rose and Vanilla Tea bar, which is really a block, or a very generous-sized bar. I have to start by saying that this block looks amazing! I’ve never seen a piece of chocolate quite so ornate. When I took my first bite, the slight bitterness of the cocoa hit the sides of my mouth, but was overtaken by rich chocolateyness with hints of tea and vanilla. An orally and visually satisfying block of very good quality chocolate which melted on my tongue and caressed my mouth.

Hogarth's Rose and Vanilla Tea Bar

Hogarth’s Rose and Vanilla Tea Bar

Baron Hasselhoff’s mallow puffs. The name immediately made me think of Baywatch, but I’m sure that these are a much better quality product than that (no offense to any David or Pamela fans). They looked absolutely delicious… Unfortunately, I’m one of those vegetarians that doesn’t eat gelatine, so I had to surrender these delicious looking morsels to the clutches of the BFG. He said that it tasted like “very berry marshmallow”. Such a poet :). In terms of the look, it was very much like a Griffin’s Mallowpuff (if you’re NZ based) or a Tunnock’s Tea Cake (if you hail from the UK), except that it was a little smaller, the marshmallow was pink (not white) and “very berry”, apparently. From my observations (whilst drooling), the biscuity base was crumbly and the chocolate cracked nicely upon biting into it. My final comment is to plea with the Baron to please make a vegetarian/fegan version, as I’d love to try these scrummy little suckers!

Baron Hasselhoff's mallow puffs

Baron Hasselhoff’s mallow puffs

Next were the strawberry  and almond tea cakes from Little Blues Chocolates. These were as delicate as they were tiny. A mouthful of softness with a wee bit of crunch from the outer layer of white chocolate and the almond cresting the top. The only issue was the packaging; it was a little tricky to get past the cellotape and the rigid plastic.

Little Blues Chocolates' strawberry and almond tea cake chocolates

Little Blues Chocolates’ strawberry and almond tea cake chocolates

Chocoyo’s bonbons were also a challenge to get into, due to their rigid plastic packaging, but were the perfect size for David (my Dr Who birthday gift). They were even somewhat Whovian in appearance, with one resembling a delicacy that could have sprung from a Tardis :). Said blue treat had a delicate, glossy shell and tasted like Spring: grassy and light. The other two had a delicate raspberry jam-like centre which melted in the mouth. Fun to look at and to eat!

My almost-favourite was the She Universe Bula Bean. I’ve known of She Universe (formerly She Chocolat) for a while now, first discovering them in Governor’s Bay years ago and more recently happily realising that they also have a cafe and shop at The Tannery in Christchurch.  They supply all sorts of deliciousness and list one of their ingredients as “love”. The Bula Bean was decadent, dark and satisfying, with a coconutty scent. It had the perfect crunch when tackling the outer layer, which gave way to a velvety inner. Bloody gorgeous!

She Universe Bula Bean

She Universe Bula Bean

Last but nowhere near least, my favourite part of the selection: The She Universe Chocolate Sweetheart. This had a sprinkling of salt on the outside, which was a perfect match with (or should I say contrast to?) the caramelly inner. It was nice and big, so I took my time nibbling away at it in multiple sittings and enjoyed licking the salt off my lips, after savouring the inner sweetness. And don’t let the picture fool you: it was almost as big as my hand!

She Universe Sweetheart

She Universe Sweetheart

All in all, this was a very well thought out curation of chocolatey goodness. Rosa really does know her artisan and craft chocolate! I highly recommend getting online and ordering something from The Chocolate Tour as soon as humanly possible. You won’t regret it!

 

 

Bake away your blues

8 Sep

There are many things in life which can be considered therapeutic: a massage, a run, a good heart to heart with a friend or whanau member. More often than not, I choose baking. It’s easy, the ingredients are generally in the pantry, it is a good way of focussing my energy and narrowing my attention onto one thing. And it makes me feel better: not just the eating of it, but the creating as well.

When I had Little Pud, I was swept up in a world of nappies, breastfeeding, bottle feeding and sleep deprivation and there was suddenly no time for myself or for the BFG. I remember one night going to sleep by his side and saying “I miss you”, because we were like the proverbial ships in the night. I would get up to feed while he slept, or he would get up to bottle feed while I pumped milk and then went back to bed. Worse, I was very anxious for quite a long time. Everything had changed. Life was no longer what we had come to know. It was at once, joyous and terrible, fun and anxiety-provoking, confusing, tiring and just plain hard, but also wondrous. Of course, it got better, but life would never be the same. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing: it just is what it is. However, I had abandoned so much of my old life and, while I (mostly) didn’t actively mourn the particular activities I no longer did, I didn’t really feel like myself anymore.

It was really important for me to get back into baking. I didn’t realise it at the time, but once I started baking again, I felt more like me. Of course, it was still only now and then that I baked, but it was wonderful to once again practise this old, familiar activity that I loved so much.

I started simply with scones or suchlike. I don’t actually recall what I first made now. It helped that I was determined to try making some baby food when it came time for Little Pud to try some solids. I tried my hand at various forms of edible slush and now I’m regularly making “weaning foods” as well as getting the Little Pud to try eating whatever we eat (minus the refined sugar and alcohol :)). There’ll be a post on weaning foods soon here and on my other blog.

Baking is also an activity that I associate with my Mum and her mum, and Grandma (Dad’s mum). It’s nice to maintain that link and know that I’m doing something that they enjoyed as well.

Of course, I’m not the only one who believes in the power of baking to heal the soul. Marian Keyes wrote a lovely recipe book called “Saved by Cake” in which she confesses that baking literally saved her life. Marian was diagnosed with depression and had tried all sorts of ways to alleviate her feeling of being “very, very afraid… like my brain  had been poisoned”. She tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, antidepressants, reiki, accupuncture, meditation… the list goes on. One day she needed to make a birthday cake for a friend who was visiting. She was “suspicious of anything ‘crafty'”, but gave it a go and enjoyed it so much she kept baking. After a while, she couldn’t stop. Marian stresses that baking hasn’t cured her, but “it gets me through”. Like me, it helps her to focus, to “concentrate on what’s right in front of my nose”.

And maybe baking can help you. Or maybe it’s getting back into crochet or cross-fit, beat-boxing or backgammon. Perhaps it’s time to get back into karaoke or painting the house, or even painting that work of art you’ve been putting off. Hell, maybe it’s time to just make time for some small pleasures like painting your nails. Whatever it is you choose to do, I hope you begin to find time for some fun and to restore some of the little pieces of you that may have been dormant for a while. Caring for another human is a massive job which requires love and dedication, but caring for yourself is just as important.

To finish, here’s a recipe from Marian’s book that I tried a while ago. It’s something a little different, though if you’ve heard of poke cakes before, it won’t be too unfamiliar to you. It’s moist and sweet and very much comfort food!

Bon appetit!

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Marian's Three Milks Cake

Chocolate goddess

7 Aug

Can I just say, I LOVE NIGELLA! She may be in the news for “all the wrong reasons”  (in some people’s opinion) now and then; she may draw criticism for her avocado on toast (but surely not from millenials!); she may be loved, loathed and envied for her luscious curves. I don’t care about any of that. I love her for her spunk and her recipes! Ok, ok, I admire her curves too, but mostly I love her for her food.

You may not agree with me, but you don’t have to. To me, Nigella is the epitome of sophistication, style and success. She is charming, she is intelligent and I love her pommy accent. And don’t let the dictionary fool you; pommy is generally a friendly and affectionate rather than disparaging term. At least, it is when I use it. Nigella is my culinary idol and domestic goddess.

Due to some strange oversight, I only seem to have one of her physical books. Most likely this is due to the easy accessibility to recipes that the internet brings. The one I own and love is Nigella Express.

My latest baking comes from this very book. I made one of the most delicious batches of biscuits I’ve ever baked: chocolate mint cookies. Don’t let the simple name fool you. They should really be called Awesome Little Nuggets of Chocolatey Minty Gooey Amazingness!

The recipe calls for at least 70% dark chocolate so, of course, my chocolate of choice was Whittaker’s Dark Ghana 72% chocolate.  Since Nigella is one of Whittaker’s spokespeople, I’m sure she’d approve :). Nigella’s cookies don’t actually have mint in them, but instead call for a chocolate mint icing drizzle, but I was a) too lazy to make it and b) decided that the cookies would be rich and delicious enough without it. Fortunately, I was right. To make up for the lack of the drizzle, I added peppermint essence to the cookie batter, as well as the vanilla essence in the original recipe. I doubled the recipe, so I could post some to some friends. It didn’t make double the original quota, but it still made plenty of yums. These were definitely some of the most delicious little biscuits I’ve ever made. They were (it’s worth saying again) Awesome Little Nuggets of Chocolatey Minty Gooey Amazingness! I loved them so much I made a second batch for another friend within days of the first. Here’s the recipe:

Adapted from https://www.nigella.com/recipes/chocolate-mint-cookies

I’ve come to realise that baking is one of my love languages, so I was soooo happy that the two recipients of my biscuity gift were delighted to receive them. I wish I had the time and money to bake for everyone always.

Speaking of Whittaker’s, have you seen they have four new flavours out?!?! Nicaraguan Heirloom 76% dark, Indian Cardamom and Apricots, Italian Piedmont Hazelnut and Pecans Waffle & Canadian Maple. They sound AMAZING!! I’ll be trying them over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for them in the supermarket.

And hey, we love our avocado on toast in New Zealand, especially in Auckland. I’ve got your back, Nigella ;).

 

With love and chocolate kisses,

 

Christmas Gingerliciousness

21 Dec

Something I’ve been wanting to try for a while is making gingerbread men/women/ninjas, etc.  So, I went on the hunt for the perfect gingerbread recipe. But there are SO many recipes to choose from! There are a few kiwi recipes, for example, Annabel Langbein’s version. Or would something more traditional, like German Lebkuchen be better? The recipe I looked at for this, by the way, comes from the fantastically named website Wives with Knives and describes what a German Christmas market is like, along with very Christmassy pictures. I haven’t been to a Christmas market in Germany, but I did make it to the German Christmas market in Edinburgh a few times and have fond memories of sipping gluwein (spiced, mulled wine) and trying sweet European delicacies.

german-markets_ed

The Edinburgh German Christmas market

Or maybe I could make something less spicy and more treacily like this. I also remember with great fondness the ginger biscuits that Mum used to make, but I didn’t know whether it would be the best consistency for a gingerbread person. In the end I opted for a recipe entitled “How to make perfect gingerbread” as it sounded so promising.

The secret to success with this recipe has two vital elements:

1. Ensure that the dough has been refridgerated for a while. There are several reasons why this is a good idea. For one, it solidifies the fats, meaning they won’t leach out during the cooking process. The recipe says to pop the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes but I ran out of time to make the cookies that day and it stayed there overnight. You will see from the previous link that 30 minutes is ideal, but I found that as long as you give it some time to rest on the bench and get back to room temperature, it should be fine (I wouldn’t, however, keep the dough in the fridge for days).

2. Get the thickness right. The instructions are to roll out the dough to the thickness of a 1 pound coin, as the recipe comes from a British source. If you don’t live in the UK, this is somewhat unhelpful. I cast my mind back to living in the UK and googled just to be sure. So, if you’re a kiwi, you want the dough to be slightly more than the thickness of a New Zealand $2 coin. If you live elsewhere, you’re going to have to ask Uncle Google. But, the important thing is to not roll out the dough too thinly. The suggested thickness means that you get a soft, satisfying mouthful with each bite. Any thinner and they are just too easy to overcook, as evidenced by the ones I made with leftover dough which were edible, but not enjoyable.

I was curious about where gingerbread came from, so I asked Uncle Google. Due to lack of time and space, I won’t go into it in this blog, but you can read about its fascinating history on the Smithsonian website. Traditionally, gingerbread was a romantic gift and used to be shaped like flowers, birds, animals or even armour and there were regular gingerbread fairs in France and England. For my wee gingies, I stuck with the usual people shapes and (since I can’t bear to waste it) I used the dough spaces in between to make heart shapes.

The Sunday before last, the BFG, some friends and I had a Christmas DVD session at our house, so it was the perfect occasion for gingerbread peeps. The recipe I chose did indeed deliver pretty damn good gingerliciousness!! To make it even more fun, we each decorated our own, using writing icing and M&Ms.

Gingerbread creations

Gingerbread creations

The recipe can be found here, but it’s rather a long article, so, in summary:

perfect-gingerbread-people

I have a very talented friend who makes tiny gingerbread houses. I’m not quite at that level yet and I definitely don’t have the patience, so kudos to her!!
I’d love to hear about your gingerbread attempts/failures/successes/hints. And what shapes did you choose?
Merry Christmas to you and yours! I’m looking forward to sharing more baking adventures in 2017 :).
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The Wedding: Part Deux

9 Nov

Sooo…. it’s been over a year now since the actual wedding but, as John Lennon said, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Or making babies.

I finally found a few snippets of time here and there (while baby is napping, for example) to put fingers to keypad and get this post done. In The Wedding Part One, I promised that Part Two would dish the deets on “the suppliers, the highlights of the day, the honeymoon, and, most importantly, THE FOOD!” So, here we go.

Since this is (mostly) a food blog, that’s what I’m spending the most time on. However, as the venue were the suppliers of said food, they deserve a mention first.

The venue
Gracehill Vineyard Estate is not only a beautiful setting, it was simply a beautiful experience altogether. From the minute we sat down with Warren Roodt to discuss what he could offer, we felt at ease. Unlike some other venues we visited, Warren spent time going over the options and making us feel like we were important, whether we chose to use their venue for our wedding or not. At Gracehill, Warren and his wife Linda not only presented some lovely options as to how we could use their venue, they did so with a high level of professionalism as well as kindness and humour. We weren’t rushed or pressured and they offered a very competitive winter wedding special. Despite the season, we still wanted the ceremony to take place outdoors. Warren assured us that they could set everything up outside but, at a moment’s notice, could rearrange everything indoors if the weather didn’t hold (fortunately it did). They were open to whatever level of decoration we wanted for the reception and were flexible with the meal selections, which was perfect given that I and several of our guests required vegetarian or gluten free options. They even cooked a special meal just for the BFG-husband-to-be, as he decided he’d like something special for such a festive occasion. The BFG is, decidedly, NOT vegetarian, so they prepared a Beef Wellington for him and even let us have an extra dessert to share :).

We were really impressed with the wait and bar staff and how everything ran seamlessly, including the music (for both the ceremony and the dancing) and the all-important monitoring of the bar tab :). We were also pleasantly surprised by the special touches, such as presenting our Best Man and Maid of Honour (Oh Chief of the Brideslaves) with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the fact that they had got married at the very same venue, in the same month, but four years earlier.

We can’t say enough good things about this venue and would recommend it to any couple looking to get married somewhere really special.

Blackroom Sarah's wedding blog-21

The food
The food was divine! We had bubbles just after the ceremony along with some delightful canapes: mini BBQ pulled pork burgers with crispy purple slaw; pan seared prawns with garlic, lemon and dill mayonnaise; and mozzarella arancini with tomato and basil coulis for the vegetarians.

For the meat eaters, the entree selections were smoked ham hock rillette with warm mustard veloute and crisp; and grilled thyme and rosemary chicken on a haricot bean and pancetta cassoulet. The vegetarians were lucky enough to enjoy a caramelised shallot Tarte Tatin with roasted peppers and rocket.

The main meal choices for the carnivores were sticky beef short ribs with potato gratin, honey glazed carrots and braised leeks or Marlborough Salmon with a lemon and parsley crumb accompanied by crushed potato and green pea sauce. The vegos supped on potato, leek & mushroom filo pie with baby spinach salad.

Finally, the desserts! Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and crème fraiche ice-cream or warm chocolate fudge cake with chocolate semifreddo and salted caramel sauce. There was also a spiced apple crumble for the vegan and gluten free guests.

 

Of course, I didn’t try the meaty meals, but the shallot Tarte Tatin was a perfect balance of sweet caramelised shallots and rich roasted peppers with some very tasty pastry.  I was too nervous about my speech to finish the main course but it was cooked to perfection. Having had the chance to try the first two desserts, I can state with great satisfaction that they were decadent and delicious!

The photographer
Megan Blackwell of Blackroom Photography was absolutely wonderful. We chose her not only because she is a friend of ours but because she does beautiful work. And, as it turns out, she is also a pleasure to work with. We were really pleased with how easy she made the whole process: from discussing possible shots before the event, to helping us to compose great photos on the day, to finally putting it all together into albums and onto canvas, Megan was organised, professional, friendly and just plain delightful. It can be a risk engaging a friend in what is essentially a business relationship but, fortunately, Megan did not disappoint. I have since recommended her to many people for their weddings or other special occasion photography and would not hesitate to do so again. She managed to capture some very special moments. All of the photos in these two wedding posts are from Blackroom Photography. Megan’s blog post on our wedding can be found here.

 

Hair and make-up
Elizabeth and her assistant from Face Me Make-up did a smashing job on my hair and make-up and really did help me to feel like I was the most beautiful bride ever. A special mention here goes to my Maid of Honour, who did the bridesmaids’ make-up and one of my other bridesmaids who did the bridesmaids’ hair. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to get quality work done! Our budget only allowed for professional hair and make-up work for me, so I am just very lucky to have two very talented friends whose hair and make-up skills were second to none (even the professional!).

Blackroom Sarah's Blog-4

The wedding night
We didn’t immediately set off on honeymoon as we wanted to spend the day after the wedding with family at our place. But we did stay somewhere special on our wedding night. Rosebud Cottage was tastefully decorated, warm and cosy. A highlight was the outdoor bath under the stars! Our hosts were lovely and even posted back the tie that the BFG accidentally left behind.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we were not able to have our honeymoon in Thailand, as planned. But we were lucky enough to have two local honeymoons instead: the first in Rotorua just after the wedding, and the second in Wellington a few months later. Highlights of the first included visiting Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park, staying in a suite and getting massages. The best bits of the second were the Zest Food Tour, the Weta Workshop tour, and Wellington Zoo, where we experienced a Cheetah encounter.

All in all, we had a perfect day and a lovely pair of honeymoons. What a very lucky girl I am :). And now, we also have a beautiful baby boy. More on this at my other blog The Pudding Club… when he gives me some time to write!

I would love for you to share the best bits of your wedding and any recommendations you might have for those planning their special days below :). Till next time…

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