Hasn’t this been the most wonderful summer ever? The weather was absolutely incredible and for most of us it was the perfect summer. I think I read somewhere that it was the hottest January on record. We made the most of the sunshine and spent most of the sunny days outdoors doing something fun together.
Having my parents in law visiting from Switzerland kept us busy. We had a great time together and made some wonderful memories! We kayaked down the Puhoi River, went on the Mail Run (by boat) to Kawau Island, did a road trip around Coromandel, which has some of the best beaches in New Zealand, checked out the geothermal area in Rotorua, visited the bird sanctuary island Tiritiri Matangi, walked many, many miles through bush and on the beach, tasted some wines at my favourite winery (Coopers Creek), climbed like monkeys through the trees at Tree Adventures in Woodhill forest, cooked meals together and organised extended family BBQs and gatherings at every possible occasion. This summer was all about family and being together!
But the highlight of my summer was the privilege of cooking a hangi during our little road trip. Cooking has always been a passion for me, and I love being in the kitchen, because the kitchen represents a place of being creative and making people happy, be that with food, soap or by just being together and doing the dishes. I love trying out new things and recipes. So when I found a holiday park with its own hangi oven, I knew we had to go and stay there. Hangi, for those who aren’t familiar with the term, is a maori way of cooking with natural steam. The holiday park we stayed at is located in Rotorua, a region of active geothermal energy with plenty of mud pools, geysers and hot water springs. Placing your food in heke (NZ flax) baskets, the maori used to lower these baskets into the steam and let the steam do the cooking. Those still lucky to have a hot spring on their property will still cook this way. I felt really privileged and lucky to try this method of cooking and to me, that was the highlight of my whole summer! Btw the food is deliciously tender and juicy, and the corn was the best I ever tasted!
Did I mention I loved being in the kitchen? It wasn’t just us humans loving this weather, the harvest this summer has been so bountiful with fruit and vegetables and the past few weeks I’ve been busy canning, jamming, pickling, freezing, and dehydrating. I had a great little helper, who not only picked 7 kg of strawberries in record time, he also cut and dehydrated 5 kg of apricots for me, and he’s come up with some great chilli sauce recipes. I’m happy to share any recipes, just flick me a pm!
And it wasn’t just all about food for me this summer. I also had the privilege to teach a one-on-one session with Gama, visiting New Zealand all the way from Indonesia. He’s a fantastic soap maker and an incredible photographer, and I love seeing his images on Instagram!
Having had such a wonderful fun and busy summer, I feel fully re-charged and ready to bring some great new ideas to 2018. There will be new courses and venues, lots of tutorials, more techniques to learn, and online books and courses. Here’s a little sneak peak to what’s coming this year: