Art Deco Festival – Tick!


Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Napier for the Art Deco festival. It was marvellous and so much more than I expected. I went with a friend and we had an absolute ball. Not a lot of booze was involved and the snaps were real. It was one of those weekends I will always have fantastic memories of.

My friend won the trip for two from the wonderful Coast Radio. Yes, people really do win those things. This prize included flights, accommodation and tickets to events. Even without a prize to enjoy, I would go again.

I had a vision of what the weekend would be like, it surpassed all of that. It was like stepping back in time and everyone was very happy. I haven’t dressed up for a party for a long time, we spent the whole weekend in costume. I raided the op shops and got some great dresses and shoes.

It was not only the dressing up that made the event but Napier being pedestrianised and the only cars and bikes around were from the Art Deco period. Throughout our time there was constantly something happening, many of the events were on the street, at the sound shell. or in the air. We attended the free dog parade, the Army Band and the very cute Soap Box Derby.

The ticketed events we went to included the Prohibition Party, Falling in Love Again and the Gatsby Picnic as VIP’s. We added the Death By Chocolate, this was a funeral for Chocolate held in a funeral home and included eating rather a lot of chocolate. It was fabulous. The table of older ladies in full black dress celebrating a birthday certainly added to the atmosphere.

Anyway, enough going on from me, next years dates are out and you should go.

We stayed at the lovely Motel De La Mer, it is right opposite the splash pad and the cleanest place I have ever stayed. I would certainly stay again.

For food, we discovered Chantal Organics shop and cafe. The food was so very good. I will dream of a day I can go back.



Manual – The Button I Now Know How To Use On My Camera.

After 3 years of having a fancy camera, I have finally learnt how to use it for food photography. I have enrolled for evening classes a couple of times and they have never happened as there weren’t enough people. When I saw the very fancy Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand had a 2-day weekend class I decided to jump in and get it done!

The weekend was fantastic, it was spent in their space in Cuba Street, Wellington. I loved it. The first day we talked about the food photography and how to use the camera. The Sunday we took photographs of actual food cooked by some of the Le Cordon Bleu students, photographed them while they cooked and ate their food.

It isn’t easy to learn as an adult and I am a long time out of school. I am no expert (yet) but I plan to be. I would recommend this class, it is by no means cheap but is very informative and a great way to learn.

Here are a few of my favourite photographs. They are not perfect, I love them and I am proud of my progress. My next step is to take the camera out of the house and to buy Photoshop.


Tahi On Courtenay Place, Now My Happy Place.

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Green Curry With Crumbed Chicken and Mr M’s Basil Chicken.

Last night I had a wonderful night out but very mediocre food in a place I had high expectation of. I don’t want to talk about that because the restaurant will get there and be good when it has got its self together.

My food sulk vanished with a lovely lunch.It was one of those meals that left me with a very big smile. Us Muffin’s love a good weekend lunch, one that is big enough to be a dinner and generally served with rice. Today we tried somewhere new and we are very happy we did.

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Miss Muffin with her Beef Massaman , she loved it.

Tahi is on Courtenay Place on that corner that has been a few things. Yes, it is number one as the name says and the name works really well as it serves Thai food. The decor is lovely and not your average Asian restaurant. You have to go and see.  It was the kind of decor that impressed us old parents and Miss 13. Even the toilets were lovely.

If you want to know all about the food you can read my Zomato review. If you are in Wellington I really do recommend you go. The food was excellent, the presentation impressed and us Muffin’s left very happy. We will be back soon to eat our way through the menu.






Goodbye 2015, The Year of Leaping Food Hurdles.


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At the beginning of this year I decided 2015 was the year of eating.

My aim was to get over my meat based phobia and just eat things without over thinking them. As 2015 comes to a close I am happy to report that I had an excellent eating year and jumped food based hurdles. However, I still do not like bacon despite trying it over and over again.

In 2015 I was lucky enough to have two events that enabled my trying new things.

Our family trip to Cairns and Port Douglas meant trying all things Aussie. My birthday was spent stroking wallabies and later eating the furry cute things. Now that is something I never thought I would say. We ate many a strange Aussie thing at Ochre that night. Green ants are nice and crunchy.

The second event was attending the Wellington on a Plate Roman Feast at ARTISAN. Not only was that an excellent night out but a brilliant way to try all the things. Mr Muffin is still talking about the event and how we will be booking whatever MacLean Fraser is hosting. That night brings a smile to my face as we had such a wonderful feast and laughed so much.

In 2015 I was discovered The Chameleon Restaurant. That was all thanks to my friend (posh) Lucy. It was there that after 14 years of living in New Zealand I finally tried Paua. I was actually surprised I liked it. I think the beautiful presentation and gentle slicing had something to do with it.

Another New Zealand food I tried was Mutton Bird. I would like to thank Ms Forde for cooking it. I did try but just couldn’t like it.

2015 was a great food year and an all round great year. For me it was also marked by an achievement, my first year in 6 years with out a visit to the tube of doom, otherwise know as an MRI.

So, as we leave 2015 I wish you and yours a happy new year.

My eats.

Mutton bird

Lambs Brains

Lamb Sweetbread







Green ants

Pigs trotter

Pig head

2015 also was the year Miss Muffin overtook in height. I knew this day would come but I didn’t expect her to be just 12 yrs old when it did.

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Chocolate Tortillas – a work in progress.

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You can now find the recipe here.

I was lucky enough to win a  competition on the Equagold Facebook page. The prize was that lovely pot of Premium Dutch Cocoa and the competition involved what you would do with it and some kiwi fruit. My idea was for chocolate tortillas and I have been trying and working on the recipe.

My first batch were just OK, not great. We did eat them all and the consensus was that they needed to be a bit sweeter. This batch were made with regular flour and I am going to try with masa (corn) flour as it has a natural sweetness. I will also remove the baking powder because I would like them to be a bit flatter.

Hopefully I will get to try them out at the weekend and if you have any idea please feel free to comment. Meanwhile here are some more photographs.

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I don’t like bacon, there I said it!


Borrowed this from , I know that is a kid, I am kid size.

Yes, it is true. I don’t like bacon.

I don’t understand the love people have for bacon.

I don’t like the smell, I don’t crave it.

I don’t like it.

I think I am in a minority here and you may all be mad. I just don’t get it. Yesterday I had a grown up strop because the bacon stuff was cooked in my kitchen while I was home. My rule is on the BBQ or while I am out. After it is cooked I can smell it for days and days. It is offensive to my nostrils. I have got past the smell of most meats but I just can’t with bacon.

As a kid I wasn’t a meat lover. I have got to the like some meat stage and I am nearly at the loving it with an occasional crave it moment. My poor mum had to hide my meat under vegetables when I was a kid. I have memories of sitting at the dinner table for a very long time with dreaded meat starring back at me. I remember the moment I found out that in you didn’t have to eat meat. I was vegetarian for a long time, now I am reformed. I still don’t like bacon.

Year of Firsts.


Borrowed from Bunny Eats Design

I have been thinking about writing a list of things I would like to do this year and the things I have already done. I was delighted this week when Genie from the brilliant Bunny Eats Design posted about a Year of Firsts. You can join your blog too, just comment down the bottom of the above link. The idea is that  as a blogger I write a list of firsts I would like to achieve this year and blog about them. I have already completed three things I would have added a couple of weeks back. I have- Eaten Liver (was good) Tried scallop (didn’t like at all) Eaten Paua (wasn’t too bad ) So, here we go……

My Year of Firsts-

  1. Master my camera on auto
  2. Master my camera on manual
  3. Take my camera out of the house and take photos
  4. Make a herb garden on the ugly patio
  5. Use Eat My Books rather than google
  6. Keep my photos saved neatly
  7. Delete the photos I do not need
  8. Try crayfish
  9. Get business cards made
  10. Order meat more often when out (stop ordering vegetarian)
  11. Learn to run
  12. Buy our meat from the butcher
  13. Buy our fruit & veg from the market
  14. Deep fry without being frightened
  15. Keep a sourdough starter alive and well
  16. Make proper croissants from scratch
  17. Drink tea in cafes (it doesn’t have to be coffee!)
  18. Promote myself without making excuses
  19. Make just one trip a week to the supermarket
  20. Babka- make it the traditional way, even all 3 loaves
  21. Teach others to make bread- start with Miss Muffin
  22. Eat at 10 24 in the Hawkes Bay
  23. Have a roast dinner cooked by Miss Muffin
  24. Take Miss Muffin for proper high tea

A hole in my head, have been a zipper for 5 years today.


1st February is one for those days that marks something big for me. This time 5 years ago I was not long out of brain surgery and had a new hole in my head. Yes, you read right. My story can be read here. 

This year this anniversary hasn’t meant so much, I suppose I have moved on . I have taken up walking and it has made a difference to my health and being strong seems to have benefited me.  I also feel stronger mentally, and life is good.

I have residual damage in my spine and down my right side and this is controlled with medication. This does not have any bearing on my everyday life. I have been signed off from my neurologists care, it was thought there were issues and I recently had an MRI. When I met with my neurologist I was delighted to learn it was sinus problems and not brain problems.

This experience did change me and recovery didn’t just happen. I do feel proud of myself and of who I have become. It wasn’t a quick journey and I will never forget the day I first walked to the mail box at the end of the drive on my own.

Thanks for reading.

Reviews and my thoughts.



I feel rather conscious that I often post positive reviews about products and particularly, restaurants. I have been pondering this and the reasons why? I feel the need to blog about it, mainly for my peace of mind.

I have one post on here that is very negative about a business, it was such a bad experience that I felt the need to share in hope that it would make others think about visiting there too. My day time boss didn’t listen and wishes he did, he did the same as me and sat there wishing he had gone to the locally owned restaurant not wasted the dollars.

I still feel a little bad about posting a  negative review , after all , this place must suit some people’s needs and employs local people. It is often busy and because people have a different view of eating to mine, this doesn’t make them wrong. However I fight the internal urge to picket outside and demand that people go up the road for a $10 curry with rice and naan.

My expectations when eating out  involve leaving feeling satisfied, feeling comfortable in the place I am eating and having choice to order a variety of meals that it would be hard to cook at home. If you have read and of my reviews on here or on Zomato you will see that I am not about the cost or what the environment looks like or about being seen at the latest in place. I love good food and I love telling others my discoveries. That is just what they are, my discoveries.

My tastes are not your tastes. I am happy to walk in to a dark dingy sticky floor if someone tells me they do a good plate of noodles. It doesn’t make any difference to me if the plate of food cost $8 or $80. What matters to me is it puts a smile on my face and I can plot when I can next return and what I will order.

All up, I wont be doing negative reviews. New Zealand is such a small country and so many in hospitality work so hard to keep their businesses afloat and the opinions on the internet do have an impact on people choosing where to eat. I am happy to influence others when I have good things to say and love reading or hearing what others think. I get real satisfaction when I am thanked for recommending a random out of the way restaurant that people wouldn’t have otherwise known about or considered.

Thanks for reading and I feel better for putting my thoughts out there.

Happy New Year, 360 odd dinners to go!

I have been contemplating what this blog means to me lately and I have decided it is something I am mighty proud of and love. I have also thought about how I need to stop saying, “just a…… ” and accept that I love my blog and let it open doors and allow me to grow and learn.

Sometimes, on twitter,  I talk with some wonderful foodies and then when I go to the market where they have a stall , a restaurant they own or anywhere else, I am all shy. I am going to put on my big girl pants this year and stop this behaviour, I am going to jump in feet first and see what 2015 brings me. I already have my eye on some halloumi lessons from The Little Goat and maybe some fresh baking ideas too.

This thinking has been spurned by thinking of my maternal grandmother , Nanny Lily. She died 10 years ago, the same time as the Boxing Day Tsunami. I am not a religious person but I do like to think that she is some where keeping all the lost people well fed with a massive buffet table.This lady, my nanny Lily, was way ahead in food. She lived in a teeny tiny English council house (state house) where the back door was always used and meant a walk through the tiny kitchen sneaking bits of baking off the kitchen sides. As my mum is the oldest of seven, there were plenty of mouth to feed and later grandkids and partners too.

A family tea would mean about 20 plus people in a very small front room/ dining room and a table laden with food, all home-made. The catering urn would be on in the kitchen with continual cups of tea, oh how I wish I had taken photos. There were always some home-made staples like cheese straws, a gateaux , trifle and sausage rolls and it was always a race to get to that take first. I still don’t have buffet table manners and will dig in without much of an invite.

So, 2015, this ones for you Nanny Lily, the smallest super woman in the world.

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