Snow & A Sad Story – White Winter in Central Otago, New Zealand (June 2015)

Central Otago, New Zealand Central Otago, New Zealand Central Otago, New Zealand

Here’s a silly, tragic story for you. In June, I returned from our Queenstown trip with over 3000 photographs, which I transferred into a folder on my laptop. I accidentally deleted the entire folder without realising it and emptied the bin almost immediately (this is a very terrible habit of mine, I just don’t like seeing things sitting in the trash bin on my computer) and even after trying various recovery methods, I believe they’re lost for good. Thankfully, I’d already blogged about Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Coronet Peak and Amisfield by then, but all the pictures taken in the actual location of Queenstown (the pretty wildlife, the amazing food, the stunning view from the gondola, the surrounding snow-covered mountains, everything) were all gone before I’d even gotten around to sorting through them. Continue reading “Snow & A Sad Story – White Winter in Central Otago, New Zealand (June 2015)”

Amisfield Winery & Bistro, Queenstown NZ

Amisfield Bistro Amisfield Bistro Amisfield Bistro

Growing up, I visited Queenstown with family quite often – sometimes multiple times a year. Despite all Queenstown has to offer, from extreme sports to beautiful scenery, I was always most excited about visiting Amisfield’s Winery & Bistro for a long lunch. I have very fond memories of sitting outside under the warm spring sun, playing pétanque with family between courses of incredible food. Of course, the surroundings look fantastic in winter too and I was glad to have Angie with me this time around to savour the “Amisfield experience”. Continue reading “Amisfield Winery & Bistro, Queenstown NZ”

Hitting the Snow at Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak Coronet Peak

To James, I asked: “What is Coronet Peak to you?” To which he replied: “It’s the closest ski resort to Queenstown. Pretty easy to get to – the drive up is much easier compared to other snowfields. But the snow itself is generally not that great. It’s an acceptable place to ski if you are lazy and don’t want to go further.”

I can agree with half his assessment, but I am no snow sport expert, so I cannot give my honest opinion on the quality of Coronet’s powder or user-friendliness. I can, however, tell you with absolute certainty that the views of the surroundings from up there are quite spectacular on a clear day. Continue reading “Hitting the Snow at Coronet Peak”

Arrowtown – A Former Gold Mining Town with a Rich History

Arrowtown, New Zealand Arrowtown, New Zealand

Situated at the foot of the mountains of Western Otago, on the banks of the sparkling Arrow River, Arrowtown is yet another iconic visitor destination on New Zealand’s South Island. Located only 20 minutes away by car from Queenstown, we ended up paying a quick visit on our second day. With a good smattering of boutique shops, galleries, bars and restaurants, Arrowtown is not quite as desolate as Glenorchy, but it is definitely no Queenstown. Continue reading “Arrowtown – A Former Gold Mining Town with a Rich History”

The Journey to Glenorchy (Or Middle-Earth, if you’ve watched Lord of the Rings)

Journey to Glenorchy, New Zealand Journey to Glenorchy, New Zealand Journey to Glenorchy, New Zealand

Our third day in Queenstown (yes, I’m starting with the third day) was my favourite. James took the car and we headed north towards Glenorchy, a frontier town with a reputation as ridiculously far-reaching as Hollywood. I could hardly believe the immense beauty that surrounded us all throughout our journey and we honestly could not have asked for better weather! Glenorchy itself was only about an hour’s drive away, but we stopped every few minutes to give our cameras a good run in the cold. Continue reading “The Journey to Glenorchy (Or Middle-Earth, if you’ve watched Lord of the Rings)”

Anzac Biscuits (Coconut Oatmeal Cookies)

Anzac Biscuits

The 25th of April marks one of Australia’s most important national events. Anzac Day is an occasion that commemorates the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) who fought the fierce eight month campaign at Gallipoli during World War I.

Rolled Oats Desiccated Coconut

The history behind the Anzac biscuit is an intriguing one as it has long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Apparently, the biscuits were sent by the mothers, wives and girlfriends to the soldiers abroad because they were made using ingredients that did not spoil easily. Indeed, being eggless confections, they were less likely to go bad during the long journey by ship.

Organic Honey Unbaked Anzac Biscuits

These homemade Anzac biscuits are a real traditional treat, with chewy rolled oats and fragrant shredded coconut standing out as key ingredients. While the individual components you need to create these modest-looking biscuits are fairly ordinary, you’ll be delighted by how absolutely heavenly they taste. Brought to life by a deep caramel flavour, these sweet, buttery biscuits are beautifully crisp around the edges and slightly chewy in the middle. My boyfriend is convinced that the best way to eat these is with a tall glass of cold milk.

Anzac Biscuits Anzac Biscuits

One arguably traditional step left out of this recipe is the use of baking soda mixed with boiling water. This step allows for the cookies to rise a little more, but because I had self-raising flour on hand, I figured that it would make a decent (and much more convenient) substitute.

Anzac Biscuits Anzac Biscuits

Also, one of the best things you can do to give these biscuits a real boost in flavour complexity is the generous addition of salt. Give it more than a pinch; up to a half teaspoon, even. It really sets these biscuits apart. The salt melds with the concoction of melted honey, butter and dark brown sugar to create the most luxurious of blends. I mean, who doesn’t like the rich, heady, mouth-watering taste and aroma of salted caramel?

Anzac Biscuits Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits (Coconut Oatmeal Cookies)

Ingredients:

1 cup self-raising flour
a generous dash of salt
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey*

* I used Organic Outback Honey made by the Australian Organic Honey Company.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, desiccated coconut and oats. Mix well, set aside.
  3. Melt the cubes of butter, dark brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is smooth and fragrant.
  4. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking tray. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until a deep golden.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool on baking tray until slightly firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Anzac Biscuits Anzac Biscuits