Camping Cancelled

We had an overnight camping trip arranged, but it was dashed when Adam realised that his WOF (Warrant of Fitness - NZs MOT). I was mad, and the funny thing was I found out when I was driving back from collecting my keys and coat I'd left at work, cos I'm a scatty forgetful thing. So there I was mad at Adam for forgetting the warrant! So now I've confessed to the double standards and the hissy fit I threw I can continue. He was sorrowful but still laughed at me having my hissy fit. So a day out had to be planned. Somewhere new, a scouting trip for summer camping adventures....we headed to our favourite place the Coromandel, but this time headed up the Kauaeranga Valley. 

There are several DOC campsites up this great track and we'll be back for sure. We checked out the model dam and then took the nature walk to Hoffmans Pool. My book says a great spot for swimming and a picnic. The water was freezing - twas sunny but still winter remember. I took my jeans off and paddled in, only to loose the feeling in my feet and have trouble walking. So picnic and stone gathering it was. A beautiful spot and we will return to swim when the water warms up.

We then headed to the nearby town of Thames for the daily coffee fix and then while both wanting to run away to Coromandel township, we headed south onto new roads. We found ourselves in the antique town of New Zealand - Paeroa - also famous for the L&P drink. We found the large bottle eventually. An odd town, but clearly the place to buy gum boots, as I've had no luck finding proper gum boots in Auckland (I ask you, how hard can it be to find a decent welly boot - especially in a country as wet as this one - but I digress).

From Paeroa, we drove along the rather lush Kauaeranga Gorge, another spot to come back to for the gorge walkway and the waterfalls, but for now we headed for Waihi beach and sunset looking at the Pacific Ocean, having a rather interesting conversation about which coast we would rather live on. Are you a sunset or sunrise person, surf and black sand or gentle sea and golden sand, it was all rather difficult to decide.

Van in the garage today, so hoping for camping at the weekend.

Lemon Tart

The lemons called to me really, having exhausted my own supply from my young little lemon tree, the little bag at the Clevedon Farmers Market did demand to be brought. So there I am with a gorgeous little bag of organic lemons, ummm! No, it's not to be a lemon cake or lemon muffins, it needs to be a new thing. Mind you, it's Sunday evening, in my new attempt to be organised I've done the shopping, so it also have to be made from things I've got in the house. "I'm making a lemon tart' I say and then what followed was a rather scary thorough search of lemon tart recipes. I had a few in the vast collection of cookbooks I treasure, though not as many as I expected, so I thought just to be sure I'd have a little online looking, checking out Delia, just to make sure I'm in the right ball park, but also checking out a few more just to learn all there is about lemon tarts.
In the end however having grasped the general gist of the tart, I used the one in my faithful recipe file. Now, my baking weakness or danger spot is pastry. I try but am plagued with terrible memories of home economic classes at school, with the scary teachers ridiculing me at the shape I am rolling out. It's all too much!
There are however happy pastry memories. Both my grandmothers were marvelous cooks and made superb pastry, so I have fond thoughts of my nan being able to make a stunning pie without batting an eyelid or using scales for that matter. I was allowed to make jam rolly things from the left over pastry (or I ate the raw stuff which still tastes divine), and took great pride in sprinkling sugar on the egg coated 'thing' I'd 'made'. I would watch in awe as nan sliced off the excess pastry from around the edge of the plate, it was a thing of wonder. I am smiling now at the memory.
My Scottish grandmother, who I really never realised until too late, what a incredible woman she was, encouraged (and ate) my early attempts as a cooking teenager, she was always full of praise, encouragement and top tips (cold hands etc!).
My mother was an inspiration in pastry as she would make the most amazing decorations for the tops of pies, roses and leaves I seem to remember, I really must have another go at those.
So why with this pedigree is my pastry a bit weak, sometimes its OK, sometimes it's good, sometimes I give up throw it away and make a crumble! No consistency, it's a worry.
This is a very long winded way of saying that whatever recipe I looked at, I had no intention of making pastry. I love to bake, but I also love to enjoy myself while baking, and the joy at opening a ready made defrosted packet of sweet pastry and gently rolling out to the desired shape with ease and elegance is all I need really.
So there you go, if you want pastry recipe you don't need me. I just need a ready stocked freezer with my variety of pastries, ready for any such occurrence, like the need to make a lemon tart on a Sunday evening.
The trouble is, the tart is so easy it's a bit embarrassing, so Sandika, if you are reading this, this one is for you, trust me, you can do it. I pre-baked the pastry case, all that baking blind malarkey so you have a baked by cooled tart case ready for the filling.

Lemon filling then:

3 large eggs plus 1 yolk
150ml double cream
100g golden caster sugar
grated zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
freshly squeezed juice of 3 large lemons

Put all the ingredients into a large jug/bowel and beat by hand until just combined. Set the prepared pre-baked pastry case, in the flan tin, on a preheated baking sheet and pour in three quarters of the filling. Put into a preheated oven at 160c, then carefully pour in the remaining filling (this way you avoid spilling the filling as you put the tart in the oven)
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is firm when the tart is gently shaken. No wobbly tarts here!!

All the lemon tart recipes I looked at gave the hint about filling the pastry case when it's actually on the oven shelf, why the hell have I not come across this top tip before. I didn't have a large enough jug, so used a bowel which was OK, but I could see a jug would be easier.

I guess there are a whole heap of things you could do to top it, or serve it with, but we just ate the first piece warm and in stunned admiring silence. The second piece eaten cool later was just as good. As where the pieces for the rest of the week, there was no way Adam was letting this baby into work, sorry guys!


Oh made a very similar rhubarb (from the garden) tart, thanks to Jamie. This one is puff pastry so no baking blind business.


Number One

Number one of the list and a joy it was too. Though the drive up the mountain had me gripping the car seat, Adam was of course in his element, I am such a coward. A great place to ski - though we move so slowly is it really skiing - I say it's great control. So Cardrona is the place to go and we have already planned to go back next year, take some lessons, love it again already. No lessons this year, just enjoyed the wide open slopes and the fantastic scenery all around.

We also repeated some of the walks we did when we last here in April, this time with clear blue skies, sunshine and wonderful far reaching views. Yes perfect weather, we where blessed all week.

We stayed in Wanaka (typed at least three times to be sure) at the YHA backpackers, would highly recommend it, as we did when we camped here in April

We visted Arrowtown and Queenstown and took a drive to the ends of the earth which felt a little adventurous (to me anyway). 

Happy and delighted (well apart from when I put on my ski pants and realised the amount of weight I have clearly put on and struggled to do them up - they popped undone on the chair lift anyway), it was a great week.


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