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There's no question, food always tastes better when someone else cooks it for you. It helps to have a friend who is mad keen on cooking, especially for those days when not much goes right. Everyone has these, I am sure. One of those days when there's no milk for the morning tea, and the cat brings in half a mouse.
There's nothing like the aroma of baking bread - especially if someone else is making it. I found myself at the skull lady's house a few weekends ago, and she was keen to try a sticky bun recipe that had popped into her head.
Here's the thing - invite friends for dinner and when they arrive, surprise them with the fact they have to provide it. We did just this the other night. It wasn't intentional, in fact, we'd planned a scrumptious, belly-warming feast but had got the timing slightly wrong. Rather than being ready by 7 o'clock, it required way more cooking than we anticipated - and wouldn't be worthy of eating until 10 o'clock. Which for us country folk is tad too late.
This is plain, no-nonsense country-style tucker: easy to make, sustaining, delicious, but Baked Alaska it is not. It resembles, depending on how you make it, a bit of a hill, with little bunnies dotted around. It's a great dish to make for good friends, the type you don't need to impress with glamour but who appreciate real, hard-working food.
Food - I am so over it. This unusual state of affairs came about as a result of over indulgence during the festive season.
It all started in early December, when invites to celebrate the season started flooding in. Not that two is exactly a flood, but it was most certainly a beginning.
The story goes it was an 18th century food writer, Hannah Glasse, who began a recipe with the words "First, catch your hare." Possibly because they can reach speeds of 72 km/h, possibly because they just don't seem to be as common as rabbit or pre-packed pork chops. In the spirit of being helpful, however, she might have added, talk to the brother-in-law.
We had a fine old time the other night. On the spur of the moment we decided to hunt tadpoles, which is really a big excuse for a picnic. It took no time to organise, a quick call to mobilise the friend who would bring the bubbly, a whip around in the kitchen, and we were set.
I am proud. I have baked my Christmas cake. It is sitting in the larder, and when I remember, I give it a feed of brandy. The idea, I am told, is that it will age and the flavours mix and mingle. However, there is a danger with this plan, and that is there is no guarantee it will last until the 25th.
I'm so over winter. I've splashed out on extra warm gear and wear my new fingerless gloves under my old fingered gloves and still get frozen. It doesn't help that sometimes I sit for hours in the bone chilling bush, keeping an eye on some rare feathered friends at Maungatautari. Back when it was warm, volunteers were asked to monitor stitchbirds, a lovely little bird once common throughout the North Island.
Normally I’m quite fond of rabbits, and enjoy seeing them hopping about in that rabbit way of theirs.
The trouble began when we planted a heap of young trees out the front of the house and someone didn’t want them there.