On a Cold Winters Night

The cold certainly has settled in today! A white frost greeted us when we stepped outside this morning, and I sat dangerously close to the gas heater to dry my hair tonight.

While the moon is large and haloed outside, I’m cuddled up at my computer (obviously) listening to Lady Antebellum crooning. I’m thinking of revamping the banner on the Cog & Compass Etsy store. What do you think?

I’m also thinking that online paper dolls are highly addictive. My Mum was very anti-TV when I was a kid, and I remember spending winter evenings making paper dolls by our pot-belly fireplace. Decked out in extravagant gowns and hats, I reckon my paper dolls were been the best dressed cut outs around! Thinking back, they would have looked quite at home on the cover of a historic romance novel haha.

I just made this cute pin-up version of myself (oh that my hair were that tidy!) over at the pin up doll maker. Not a bad way to waste ten minutes… not bad at all…

Lake Pupuke in Autumn

I do like a good wander. Getting out in the sunshine (even if it’s freezing) and getting some fresh air always leaves me feeling invigorated (if a bit chilly this time of year!).

A few weeks ago I had such a wander while waiting to attend my physio appointment. Ending up at the edge of Lake Pupuke, you would never know this picturesque lake resides in the centre of bustling Takapuna.

I snapped a couple of pictures –  oh the niftiness of smartphone cameras – to show you the beautiful area I live in.

The lake has formed in what used to be several volcanic craters, and is home to about a gazillion swans, geese, ducks and various other viscous creatures of the avian variety. (These creatures of of the same ilk as Yogi Bear, so guard your picnic well…)

High Tea at the Parnell Rose Gardens

Last week I was lucky enough to enjoy a cozy escape from the wintery chill, high tea at the Parnell Rose Gardens!

Food is always more enchanting when it’s smaller, and the fare served up was delightful. Tiny mocha towers, miniature lemon meringues, various savouries (and of course scones) were presented, accompanied by a wonderful choice of teas. I have to say, when it comes to afternoon tea, the Victorians did it right.

My choice of beverage from the extensive list was the Otago Summer Fruits tea, an all fruit blend of apricots, peaches, strawberries, carrots flakes and rose buds from the Otage region of this fair country (New Zealand). I must say I was curious about the inclusion of carrots flakes, but I didn’t notice the flavour at all.

If I take high tea here again I believe I’ll try the Strawberries and Cream Black Tea, it sounds deliciously naughty!

While the roses were largely absent due to inclement weather there were still one or two blooms loitering in the harsh winter sunshine.

Last time we ate high tea it was at The Stamford, you can see their gorgeous food in my post about it.
Where is your favourite place to enjoy a little high tea treat?

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Fruity Bread and Butter Pudding

Winter is setting in. The mornings are crisp, the evenings dark and rainy. While I would prefer to hibernate through the colder months, I appreciate winter for one thing – the glorious comfort food!

Apple dumplings, steamed puddings, crumbles and fruit sponges. Nothing is cozier than a hot, delicious dessert in the oven, wafting the smell of Nana’s kitchen around my house. While I’m not a big fan of traditional bread and butter pudding, I tweaked this recipe to use up some stale fruit loaf and under ripe apples (and make it less milky bland).

So here you have – Jaimee’s “just winging it” fruity bread and butter pudding. The amounts can be changed to suit the dish you’re filling, don’t worry about being too exact, I just bunged it all in and the result was more than satisfactory!

Ingredients
8-10 slices of fruit loaf
Butter
450 ml of milk
2 eggs
50g white sugar
sultanas
1 apple chopped into small pieces
Ground nutmeg
Jam (I used plum jam)

Method

  1. Butter both sides of the bread. Spread jam on one side of each slice and cut into triangles or fingers – whichever will fit better into your ovenproof dish.

  2. Grease your dish and arrange a layer of bread in the base – jam side up.

  3. Sprinkle some sultanas, apple and nutmeg on the bread. I use heaps of fruit, but you can use whatever amount you like.

  4. cover with another layer of bread, sultanas, apple and nutmeg.

  5. Finish with another layer of bread – jam side down this time.

  6. Beat the milk, eggs and sugar together and pour over the bread layers ( a whisk will do the trick, but use an electric beater if you like).

  7. Let the whole lot stand for 10-15 minutes, or while you eat dinner, then bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. You’ll know when it’s done as the pudding will puff up and be golden brown and no longer soggy looking.

This pudding is super delicious with ice cream or custard, or reheated for breakfast the next day ;) Nom nom nom…