Friday, November 30, 2012

Red Vespa in Prince’s Wharf

We had an appointment in Auckland City the other day and we arrived a bit early (you cannot tell the time it will take you to the city on the motorway – on a good day it takes 40 minutes and on a not so good day it might be over an hour – and we are talking about outside rush hours) so we walked around the waterfront to take in the superb views and sunshine before our meeting.

We saw this gorgeous red Vespa PX150 parking near the building in Prince’s Wharf. It was a nice day to be on one. If we lived in the city, it would be tempting to buy one of these.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prune Cake with Glace’ Icing


65 grams butter
½ caster sugar
1 cup high grade flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chopped pitted prunes (I use Sunsweet) tossed in a teaspoon of flour so the pieces do not stick together in lump.


½ cup icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons lukewarm water

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C

Grease and line 21x11 or similar cake tin. 
Sift flour with salt and baking powder.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy, add egg and vanilla. Add flour and milk alternately. It should begin with flour and end with flour. Make sure each addition is well blended in before adding another.

Fold in chopped dried prunes and transfer to the tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Rest to cool on wire rack.

Mix icing sugar with water in a bowl. Stir to manageable consistency and pour on completely cool cake. Rest to set.

Best served with afternoon coffee or tea on pretty china with a couple of girlfriends for a chinwag. Delicious!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Office Assistant

She would pick up that phone if she could. Pipi has a habit of visiting me in my office almost every afternoon. She will walk around on my desk checking the contents and install herself between me and my keyboard.

In this situation, we call her T-Dub – or a time waster!

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Little Furry Jumper

Bonnie was jumping to catch her cat toy in the air here. As I have mentioned in earlier posts she is half Jack Russell and half Keeshond. Keeshond has high ability to jump and although Bonnie is just half Keeshond, she can jump quite high - as high as her short Jack Russell legs allow, that is.

We used to be a bit concerned that she would be too much of a JR with high energy and hunting instinct but she seems to lean more to a Kesshond side. Of course, she is full of energy but can also be in energy saving mode as well if needed!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rustic Tomato, Mushroom and Ham Tart

This is sort of full monty tart with cream and eggs that requires the crust to be blind baked first. But it is a lot nicer cold so you can cook 2-3 hours ahead. Mushrooms can be substituted with spinach or asparagus tips.

2 medium size tomatoes
1 sheet of savoury short crust pastry
80 grams ham, thinly sliced
80 grams button mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ cup grated tasty cheddar cheese
¾ cup cream
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and black pepper

Tart Shell

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Line 20x20 square tin with 2 pieces of 20 x 30 of baking paper (you can cut to size) crosswise and leave the longer bits hanging on all sides (this will make it easier to lift the tart from the tin). If you have loose bottom pan you don’t need this process.

Line the tin with the pastry with about 4 cm up the sides, trim excess and mend the corners neatly. Prick the pastry with fork a few times, cover with baking paper or foil and pie weight (I use garden stones!) and bake blind for 10-12 minutes. Remove the paper and stones and bake for another 5 minutes.


Crank up the oven to 200 degrees C

Fry mushroom with a little bit of butter (to remove excess water) until brown. Line the tart shell with ham, mushrooms, grated cheese and tomato slices.

In a jug, mix cream, milk, sour cream and egg together. Mix well to combine and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the shell – add another round of black pepper. Bake at 200 degrees for 40 minutes and reduce the temperature to 180 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.

Leave to set in the tin for 5-10 minutes before lifting the tart.

Serve warm or cold. This recipe is enough for 2 as a light lunch with side salad.