Saturday 17 May 2014


Today the Rock  milked the cow and I had 8 litres  of milk to play with. I decided to make mozzarella but maybe because the rennet was old or Im a crap Cheese  maker all I got was a pasty cross between ricotta and quark. But i was not to be shamed. I found this recipe for Ricotta cakes They are a cross between a Sally Lunn and a scone. light tasty and rich. I added some currants and choc bits for interest. I wont ice them as they are sweet enough.

Ingredients below.  heat oven to 180 deg  cream butter and sugar add eggs and ricotta and vanilla the add dry ingredients and mix  lightly . drop on tray and back for about 15 mins. They are really yum 10247220_10152892301929899_8498844693103814046_n (2)


  • 2 cups (400g) white sugar
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 425g ricotta cheese
  • cup of currants and cup of choco drops
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups (500g) plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Friday 16 May 2014


Today  we returned to an old haunt  for lunch -  the Wellesley.  It is with out a doubt one of the most beautiful olde world hotels of NZ.  The soft scent of good cigars and old spice ooze from  its dark panelled oak walls  .
A  forever stilled bisons head hangs  over an old wood smoke drenched fireplace. A  baby grand piano sits on black and white checkerboard tiles in   the Hotel lobby waiting for musical fingers to make the keys dance.

  We dined  at a table in the corner of the bar. It seats a spreaded ten or an intimate dozen.
The old McGinnity Restaurant was once draped in starchy  white linen redolent of the sumptuous leisurely  privileged age of last century .  
Now it is a renamed bistro style café - 1815.  It is not well patronised, probably because few people realise it has been opened again post earthquake repairs needed to shore up its weak brick bones.  
A chef came up to the bar and we  all in unison squealed with glee. Chef Anton from our beloved heady days at the now defunct Beaujolais wine bar  in Woodward St was master of the 1815 kitchen.  
Recently lunch in many establishements has become tiresome as plates are over dressed with  all manner of flowers.  Moleculargastrofuckery abounds in the trendiest of food dens. But  I don't want flowers with my meat and I don't want to drink from a jam jar..
And that's the reason we squealed  when we saw  Anton  as he does real food  real good. His plates do not need to be dressed. The substance of the food he cooks with love  is enough get the mouth waters streaming.
The menu was basic  as it appears the hotel is hampered by the last of the earthquake repairs .We opted for a tasty  haloumi and tomato bruschetta to start . We fought over the last one. It was seasoned well  and flavours balanced to perfection.
Then we opted for Chef Antons most popular Beaujolais Dish. A steak sandwich with béarnaise  sauce and chips. It is as wonderful as it is simple. The meat was tender, rocket crunchy and the chips crispy. It took us back to the days where and when deals were done , politicians rolled, rumours started, lies told, truths sacrificed, affairs begun and finished, $1000 bottles of wine savoured over endless afternoon hours and Stump jump red quaffed in the time  it took to ring parliaments bells.
And on that steak were no flowers, no microgastrofuckery  no silly plastic syringes- just good meat, good salad and good chips - food in no need of frippery.
The service was impeccable, the surroundings welcoming and company was just grand. And we welcome back Anton, a man that knows good food don't need no frills. I do hope Anton enters Wellingtononaplate  


Thursday 8 May 2014

Of Boil Ups and Noble offerings

Charlie  Nobles is a quality addition to an ample serving of great eating houses in Wellington. The occasion was the all too brief visit of the BOIL. A fine friend who works for Big Oil. Hence the nickname. And the  long lunches are, as you would expect, known as Boil Ups.  And damn if we haven't had some fine Boil Ups. It seemed fitting to have this boil up at Charlie Nobles as it was the former HQ of the NZ Rugby Union. And most of the gathered group had worked with or for the NZRFU.
The staff were attentive, welcoming  and fast. Our table was in prime place. Right in front of the open kitchen. The fit out of Charleys is classic and classy bistro and the place fair bustles with the business of sating the diners. We were within an ozone whiff  of  an ice bed of "in the shell " Bluff Oysters. At $6 an oyster they are very pricey. None of us indulged instead opting for starters of breads and dips.
The taramasalata dip was heavenly. As was the rich whipped pate. Knives were keenly scraped inside the jars to seek out the last morsels. Lips and knives were licked clean.
I love flounder so despite the attraction of much on the carnivores dream of meaty selections I opted for the Patiki. It was deep fried in a crispy crumb . So crispy I had to crack it to get at the sticky tender fish. I was worried it was overdone and it was - Just a smidge. I normally ask for my fish to be undercooked. It reduces the chances of a dry offering. Anyway the crispy fish was   very good. Not great but memorable. We drank Dog Point sauvignon and it loosened the chatter from us in an instant.
We talked of our lives and family and food  and politics as we always do.
I left late in the afternoon knowing  two things. Charley Nobles will be a stayer on the Wellington hospitality scene and time and distance do not erode true friendships.
And I'm suspecting  the gang might have to organise a Boil Up in Geneva.
BB score 8/10