The Simple Pleasures of Home

Labour weekend is well known amongst us kiwis as the true start of spring and the ignition of barbeque season. The days are longer, the sun shines brighter and the air is filled with gorgeous blooms and gardens with freshly planted new season vegetables

While most people (and deservedly so) escape to the beach or head away camping, for the first time ever we stayed put. And it was glorious. No bags to pack and nothing to organise, just three days of relaxed bliss at home.

We started the weekend with a seafood feast for Friday lunch. Although I was working, I popped home for lunch to enjoy the bounties of my husband’s fishing efforts. Fresh blue cod simply fried in our neighbour’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a little salted butter, served with fresh lemon. You simply can’t beat it – it is delicious. To mark the long weekend, my husband and I went out for date night – yes date night. We dined at one of my favourite places in town, Ritual Café, who I declare makes the best fish curry I have ever tasted. Heather in the kitchen whips up the most delicious tasting warming bowl. My favourite curry is when Terakihi is on the menu. Over plates of gluten-free brownie we battled it out in my first ever game of Jenga. I’m pretty pleased to say my tower stayed standing and the man’s slightly awkward moves made the Jenga tower come crashing down around chocolaty spoonfuls. I can’t say I minded if it meant I was crowned the Jenga champion!

After a lazy Saturday in the garden soaking up a sun with a good book and the company of my favourite four legged man, I made cake, cracked walnuts and put together a delicious platter of nibbly bits to enjoy with friends. The hubby made his famous paua fritters (sorry I think I’m forbidden from sharing this recipe!) and fired up the barbeque to cook his locally caught wild venison sausages. Sometimes (especially with friends during the weekend), I really enjoy picking at finger foods and nibbles rather than sitting down to a meal and this was one of those occasions. We nibbled on the platter, paua, venison and freshly made rice paper rolls and ended with a nutritious slice of peanut butter and banana cake with freshly whipped cream. Whipped in a jar of course!

One of the beautiful things about long weekends is not having to set the alarm. While we still wake up reasonably early to walk our pooch, the option to doze is so lovely! During the weekend, I often like to cook eggs and I always try to include plenty of vegetables and colour. Our Sunday brunch of rocket, local asparagus, salmon and free-range eggs is so easy to prepare and packed with protein, B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

After separating out our newly sprouted kale, beetroot and zucchini seeds we drove through to Picton for a morning of golf (mini golf I must add so not quite channelling Lydia Ko just yet!). Although with golf lessons about to start, you never know! We then enjoyed lunch at a local winery. The confit duck leg red curry at Wairau River Wines is just to die for. You can see I’m quite the curry fan but I’m telling you if you haven’t tried it – go now, before the menu changes. Fuelled and ready for some competition, we took to Pentanque. Unfortunately, I can’t claim a win here but at least I’m improving the score deficit. With some energy still to burn, I took to the Wither Hills for a blustery stroll amongst the sheep and cattle. It still makes me smile every time I pass sheep gnawing on a tree leaf, almost on point as they reach for their lush green food source. Very wooly, four legged ballerina's going about their business.

Sometimes, it can be so refreshing and relaxing to stay put and enjoy what’s around you. It doesn’t have to involve money - a long walk to somewhere new, a picnic or a game of pentanque on a beach or in a field. The aim is to get outside, eat good food and enjoy your surroundings!

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