My Christchurch Getaway.

At the end of July I went and visited one of my best friends for about 5 days up in Christchurch and it was the best wee holiday! It was exactly what I needed just before the last semester got really busy and being able to actually see Christchurch this time was just amazing.

There was A LOT of eating done which, is never a bad thing. A lot of shopping done as well, which explains why I was 3KG under when I checked my suitcase in when I went home. Opps…

So, I thought I would share what I did and some of my favourite places!

We went to Hello Sunday for brunch on the Thursday morning and oh.my.god. the food, is amazing! There’s a wide range of selections on the menu to pick from. The prices for the food are pretty reasonable ranging from $8-$24 with a selection of egg dishes to pick from, salads and a range of savoury options as well to suit everyone. I just wanted to order everything on the menu but I ended up going for the Savoury Crumpets served with prosciutto ham, fried egg, vine tomatoes, manchego cheese and smoked garlic emulsion and of course I got a side of smashed avocado. The crumpets were so fluffy, probably some of the best ones I’ve tasted. The whole atmosphere of the place was spot on. The outside looked like a small church and the inside was a mix and match of things behind the counter up on the wall. There was long mirror along the wall behind me. The whole vibe of the place was just amazing and I’ll definitely be back every time I visit Christchurch.

 

After brunch we went and did a spot of shopping at the mall next to Hello Sunday then off to Save Mart which is my favourite second hand store in New Zealand and I found a couple of goodies there. We still had some time to fill in before Lauren had to go off to class and work so we made a trip to the Christchurch Art Gallery which had some pretty cool exhibitions on at the time. Of course I had to take a picture of Ronnie can Hout’s Quasi somewhat in a way kind of creepy hand on top of the building. It’s actually pretty cool but still be a bit odd. One of my favourite exhibitions was the Bad Hair Day which had a giant silver platted Gnome! I actually wanted to take it home with me in my suitcase but apparently that’s not allowed to happen.. There was an exhibition which I can’t remember the name off that had a piece that was made entirely out pencil leads which, I have no idea how long that would have taken but I’m sure it would have taken forever and the fact that they managed to get them to stay together and just floating in mid air… just wow. There’s a piece of the gallery where the window kind of pops outside the building and you can see the Everything is Going to be Alright which lights up at night which is so cute. Just a little something to remind everyone that everything is going to be alright no matter what you’re going through.

 

We made a quick trip to the Cathedral Square where I haven’t been in about 10-11 years. It was so sad seeing the Cathedral damaged because of the earthquakes and it being covered in pigeons. One thing that excite me though, was the trams still going around the square! I remember them being the best thing ever when I was little, unfortunately, the route isn’t exactly the same anymore because of the earth quakes. The square had a basket at the time when we went and it made the place just that little bit more happier.

 

That night we went to the Troye Savin concert and it was the best night ever! He’s so fricken amazing! The warmup act Tigertown is now one of my new favourite bands, I haven’t heard of them till now and his brother did a small DJ set before he came on stage. The whole night was an experience I won’t forget. He played all his hits a couple of old school ones and a cover but, my favourite was saved for last, Youth! I love everything about that show and him really.

 

Friday was shopping day! Which meant hitting the second hand stores where we got some bargains which is always a good thing! After spending a lot of time at the Ballantynes sale where I found it a whole different world to what I’m use too but the kind of world I wished I lived in sometimes we were on a mission to find some food, at a place where the kitchen wasn’t closed which is what actually happened. We ended up going to Bootleg BBQ to grab some late lunch. It was perfect! They had a wee thing on their menu about you getting your meal in 15mins or less, it wasn’t really an issue for us because we were the only ones in the restaurant at the time. We ended up going ordering the Chicken Wrap with Smoked Chicken, Lettuce, Pickled Cucumber, Black Eyed Pea Salsa, Chipolte Aioli served with Potato Chips, the kind of chips you would buy from the chip isle at the supermarket, yes, potato chips! We also ordered the Chicken Broccoli Salad with Smoked Chicken Thigh, Broccoli, Buckwheat, Smoked Almonds, Chilli, Cranberry and Lemon and of course we got a side of Tator Tots because, why not! It was exactly what we needed to fill the spot. We made a quick visit to the Container Malls which was pretty much just high end shops but it was still really cool to them! Later that night we went out to Strawberry Fare  for dessert, again, the food was amazing! We grabbed the Lemon Sunshine which was a Moist almond cake with layers of lemon curd and lime mousse, passionfruit sorbet and we got the Dreamy Creamy Cheesecake a Citrus Cheesecake with Citrus Fruit which was macerated in kaffir lime, vanilla & bergamot.

 

The weekend meant that we were off to Hanmer Springs for Lauren’s Uni Dance Class. We started off by stopping at the Christchurch Farmers Market to grab some treats and try the most talked about Posh Porridge  and I can tell you right now we were not let down and I will be getting it again every time I go to Christchurch! There was a about 4-5 flavours to chose from and the ones we got were; Banana with Milk Chocolate pieces (yes, milk chocolate pieces, don’t mock it till you try it) Coconut Crumble and Vanilla Crumble and the Boysenberry Crush with Caramelised White Chocolate pieces and Granola. These are hands down the best porridge I’ve ever had in my life. The market is more of a Artisan market compared to the one here in Dunedin where it’s mainly produce. We did pick up a couple of pieces of cake that were Gluten Free and Dairy Free. I can’t even put into words how amazing they were!

 

When we arrived in Hanmer Springs later that afternoon we had some spare time to fill in so we played some card games then headed into the town centre to the famous lollie store where it brought back so many childhood flashbacks. Later that night was the famous UCD dance party where the theme this year was to dress up as something starting as U C or D. I went in double denim because, who doesn’t love a bit of double denim. I haven’t done this style of dancing since about year 9-10 back in High School but I did pick it up pretty quickly. It was such a good night and I made many new friends so that’s always a bonus! One of the highlights of my weekend was waking up to the town being covered in snow! The last time I was in Hanmer Springs there wasn’t even a snow flake that fell from from the sky so this was pretty exciting! The morning was then spent in the hot pools which was the best way to relax after having a a few full on days to site seeing and shopping. The snowing mountain views was the icing on the cake as well. It was sad to leave the place but it was go be back home but it did mean that it was my last night of the holiday which was upsetting because I was having so much fun being away!

 

Monday, the day I had to leave. I really wasn’t looking forward to going to back to the real world of work and study. I just wanted to be on holiday for at least another week. We went to Black Betty to grab some brunch, yes, this holiday was mainly just eating out at food places but, isn’t that what you’re meant to do when you go on holiday?! I ordered the Desayuno de Mexico  which came with Spicy Mexican Beans, Poached egg, Avo-smash, Salsa, Roast Mushrooms, Fried Tortillas and Chipotle Sour Cream and oh.my.god. when it came out I was like what on earth have I ordered!! The amount of stuff you got for $19.50 was amazing!! The beans were spicy of course, but the thing that made the whole dish was definitely the Fried Tortillas and Chipotle Sour Cream. Just, amazing!! After brunch we went and visited the Cardboard Cathedral which sounds strange but it’s actually pretty cool. The inside is lined with cardboard pipes and the glass stain windows are beautiful. After visiting there we walked around the city area for bait and looked at some of the street art, the spot where they have all the chairs that represent everyone that died in the February earthquake which was heart breaking to see. We eventually made our way back to the Margaret Mahy Playground where I honestly felt like a little kid again! Racing each other on the flying fox to flying down slides. We ended the trip by checking in at the airport and going to grab some Burger Fuel which is possibly better than Velvet Burger… Just don’t let them know!

 

So many laughs were created over this trip and it’s something I won’t forget about anytime soon! It’s never goodbye, it’s I’ll see you soon, and by soon we mean in a months time!! I actually had the best time on tho holiday and I’m so thankful to have found someone I can call my best friend! Soppy I know, but it’s true!

I hope you enjoyed the blog post, sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve been so busy with final semester and work. But, I promise I’ll try and blog more!!

 

M x

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Chicken Caesar Salad

Salads like these are a huge weakness for me and with it being Junk Free June this is a perfect one to have and it’s so filling!
Even though it’s a basic salad it’s still one of my favourite and you can change it up so many ways!
I didn’t cook an egg to go with because I’m not really a egg fan but that’s totally up to you though.

 

Casear Salad

1 Bag of Romaine Lettuce
1 Chicken Breast
Bacon (Just what you want)
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil
1 Loaf of Ciabatta Bread
The dressing came with the lettuce

  1. Cut the Chicken Breast into chunks and season with salt and pepper. I used heaps of pepper so there was a real kick to it.
  2. Cut the Bacon into pieces, also, rip the bread into small chunks.
  3. Put the bread on a oven tray, drizzle the bread with some Olive Oil and grill till toasted, mine took about 5-7mins
  4. Heat some Olive Oil in a pan and once that becomes hot place the Chicken in the pan and start cooking away. Once it’s near cooked, add the Bacon and cook that with the Chicken
  5. Once everything is cooked put in a bowl with the lettuce and mix together, add the dressing and mix that through it. Sprinkle with some Parmesan Cheese and you’re good to go!

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of my salad probably because I was too excited to eat it.
Image Source picjumbo

Kumara Chips

I had the worse craving to order pizza yesterday for lunch but I stopped myself!

Instead I made a batch of Kumara Chips also known as Sweet Potato, it’s such a simple and easy snack. I’ve also survived my first day of Junk Free June and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be even with that silly pizza craving. I think keeping my self busy with work and study will make it easy apart from those midnight munchies which means I just need to stock up on some muesli bars and more fruit.For example, Lemons and Limes that I can infuse my water with.

 

Kumara Chips Recipe

1-2 Large sized Kumara or 2-3 small sized ones
1/2 teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
Salt & Pepper
Splash of Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 200c/Bake

Start of by washing the Kumara to get rid of any dirt that may be on them. Then cut them into chip slices
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In a bowl, put the chips, paprika, salt and pepper and oil together and toss till the chips are coated.
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Place on a baking tray and cook for 20mins or until golden brown. Once cooked, allow to cool for a couple of minutes before plating them up. Serve them up with your choice of sauce and enjoy!

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-M x

JUNK FREE JUNE

I normally don’t even think about doing things like this but since my brother was told he had cancer about 2 years ago and my both my grandmas also being told they have cancer recently I thought it was time to actually give back more than I already am.

I’m actually really excited about giving it ago mainly because I know how much junk food I eat since my work hours are always weird and somedays I just don’t feel like cooking so I tend to order Pizza or grab a burger in between my split-shift, which probably isn’t sooooo good for my bank account.

Seeing as I’m already a member of CanTeen and the support me and my brother get from them is amazing, it was time that the Cancer Society New Zealand got something back from us as well. They really helped my Nana 15 years ago when she was going through everything and even though she relapsed a couple of months ago the support is still there for her!

So please join me in this crazy month by reading my posts on the ups and downs and also I’ll be sharing recipes to help beat those junk cravings!

 

ALSO, if you have a chance, please donate to my profile, it would mean a lot! I’ll leave the link below.

https://nz.junkfreejune.org/participants-and-groups/micaela-wessels

– M x

LEMON SLICE

So, lately I’ve been making so much food products with Lemons and have actually become quite the expect when it comes to make food with Lemon!

The only downside at the moment is that they are rather expensive right now which is annoying. So while I had some lying around the kitchen the other day I thought I would whip up some Lemon Slice because it’s a classic favourite for everyone and it was gone within 30mins of everyone arriving home as well!

125g Butter
1 Cup of Flour
1/2 Cup of Icing Sugar
1 Cup of Caster Sugar
Juice of 2-3 Lemons (Depends on how Lemony you want it)
Rind from 1 Lemon
2Tbsp Cornflour
1/2 tsp of Baking Soda
3 Eggs

You’ll also need a 20cmx30cm tin, a deep one works better

1. Preheat your Oven to 180c
2. Line the cake tin with baking paper
3. Mix your Butter, Flour and Icing Sugar together till it forms a soft dough
4. Press the dough into the cake and tin and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden
5. While the dough is cooking, mix the Caster Sugar, Lemon Juice, Lemon Rind, Custard Powder, Cornflour, Baking Soda and Eggs together until it’s all combined
6. Pour the liquid over the dough and put back in the oven for a further 15-20minutes
7. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. When cool, cut into slices and dust icing sugar over the slices.
8. ENJOY!!!

 

PINEAPPLE LUMP CAKE

This would have to be one of my favourite cakes that I’ve made in so long!

A few months back, we celebrated my Mum and best friends birthday since they share the same day and it’s always impossible to celebrate them all the time. Also, because I make cakes for people’s birthday and normally don’t get the chance to make one for my best friend I was able to make a cake this year for both of them and because they both love Pineapple Lumps, it was the great being able to add those to the cake which gave me the idea of the fountain cakes that are making the rounds at the moment.

Normally they’re made with M&Ms or Skittles, but like I said about the Pineapple Lumps, I was able to use those instead! It also wasn’t as hard to make as it looks which was a bonus and I can add this to the list of cakes I can make now.

I’ll leave a list of items that I needed and how I made the cake below,unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to take pictures for step by steps as I was rushing it due to a time factor but there’s many videos on YouTube on how to make these! I went for a simple 1 level cake but used 2 cakes to make it that bit higher and I just used ready mixed cake boxes for the cakes. Again, time had something to do with this as well as I had been busy with work during the week.

Items needed:

Cake:
2x Vanilla Cake Box Mix
2x Packets Baking Chocolate
4-5x Packets Pineapple Lumps – You can use any type of candy
Food Colouring – I used Blue just to colour the cake mixture

Butter Cream Icing:
Icing Sugar – To Taste
Butter – To Taste

1x Balloon Sticks
1 Empty Pineapple Lumps Bag
1x Cake Stand
1x Flat Scrapper to Ice with
2x Round Cake Tins

Follow the instructions on the cake mix box, I cooked both cakes separately but, you can just put them all together. I also made them the night before to ensure they were cool enough to ice.

– Place a small amount of the icing that comes with the boxes in the middle of the cake stand and place the base for the balloon stick along with the stick on top of it.
– Slide the first cake down the middle of the stick and cover it in icing to help the next cake stick, again slide this one down the middle of the stick.
– Use the remaining amount of icing to cover the whole cake so it’s a light layer of icing.
– Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to help it set.
– Make up your butter cream and then spread all over the cake. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect, it gives it that rustic look.
– Melt your chocolate either in a microwave or in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Make sure to use a glass bowl if you do it over the pot of water.
– Once melted, cover the balloon stick in chocolate sauce, don’t worry if it get’s onto the cake.
– Get your candy and cover the back in sauce and stick to the stick one at time, give it about 1-2mins in-between so it gives the sauce time to thicken.
– Make sure you leave some of the stick bare to go inside the bag
– You can cover half the game with chocolate sauce and place the remaining candy over the sauce to give it that spilling affect which you will see in the photo below.
– With one of the empty bags of candy, fill it with either tissue paper or cotton balls.
– Tape the top of it if you have too so there’s just a small hole for the stick.
– Place the bag on an angle on the stick, make sure it’s in enough so the bag can stand on it’s own.

This cake will go down a treat and everyone will love how it looks!

LEMON LOAF

 

This is the most easiest loaf you can throw together it will make a great afternoon treat.

Item’s needed:
Mixing bowl
One small bow for melting the butter
Whisk or mixing spoon
Loaf tin, I just used a normal size one
Measuring cups

Ingredients:
2 Eggs
100g/352oz Melted Butter
Rind of 1 whole Lemon
1 Cup of Caster Sugar
1 3/4 Cup of normal Flour
1 1/2tsp of Baking Powder
1/2 Cup of Milk

Glaze (Optional)

1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup of Caster Sugar

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/356F Bake
Grease a loaf tin with butter and a small amount of flour or line it with baking paper
Mix together the melted butter and eggs till its smooth
Add the lemon rind and sugar and beat till its a creamy texture
Mix in the flour, baking powder, milk and a tiny bit of lemon juice and mix till everything is combined

Pour the mixture int the loaf tin, give it a couple of bangs on the bench top to get out any air bubbles and put in the oven for 45-55 mins or until cooked.
You should be able to put a knife in the middle of the cake and it will come out clean when the loaf is cooked.

For the glaze, mix the  lemon juice and sugar together and pour over the top of the loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven while its still really hot. Let it cool in the tin or on a cooling rack.

Serve either warm or cold and enjoy it!!