unsung heroes

For all of you who walk into the cafe and head straight to the cabinet to see what scrummy baked goods are on offer I thought it important to give thanks to those responsible.
Sarah and Kirsty share the duties of Baker at Nikau.
Each day they work their magic with butter and flour to bring you cheese scones, fruit danishes, delightful delicate macaroons, tempting custard tarts and their increasingly famous cream filled donuts.
The bakery is literally six feet under where you stand when you're at the cake cabinet so spare a thought for these two artisans baking away when you're eyeing up that almond brioche or a coconut bun.



When we were staying with the in laws in Shoreditch, London Sundays were dedicated to the pursuit of donuts.
And when I say pursuit I mean it. Let me explain.
We were staying quite close to Fergus Henderson's Bread+Wine restaurant opposite the Spitafields market. On Sundays they baked donuts.
They were possessing as Justin the baker/partner described the "licko lip" factor.
They would sell out.... real quick.
So Sundays would be coloured by the knowledge that someone (usually me) had to jump on the bike and go donut gathering. Twelve at a time .
Now Kirsty has brought a little Sunday donut action to Nikau with her cream filled fat boys that undoubtedly will not stay long in the cabinet.

nikki nakki AFC

the summer season of twilight 5 a side soccer begins tomorrow and we are back to defend our stellar record of well....turning up.
this year a little spice has been added with the addition of a team from the City Gallery .
the great cafe v gallery smackdown in three weeks time will have blood on the grass and bragging rights up for grabs. well maybe not quite that brutal.
keep an eye out for our results and the walking wounded staff .

asparagus and....

asparagus and....

melted butter for your first taste of the season, or, if you must, hollandaise

even better, eggs; sage fried, poached or boiled. runny yolks obligatory

stone valley lemon oil. Odell presses her own villa franca lemons with the olives. bright and fragrant

cheese; pecorino, chevre, gouda and perhaps best of all, Zanyzeus haloumi, fried to crunchy and satiny perfection

anchovies, especially with the moderating influence of cream. probably quite nice with a steak

tangelo juice and zest - yes- with more butter! or made into a vinaigrette with a few black olives thrown about

Travis catches a fish.

How about this good looking baby.
One big delicious Groper awaiting the fillet before being panfried and served with shaved fennel, white beans and a little saffron aioli.

kedgeree a go go...

a gift from across the ditch...

don't tell coffee supreme welli but the kind folk from coffee supreme melbourne sent us a kilo of their finest to try....
love the red draw string , the biker packaging and most importantly, the yummy cups of delights that were extracted from the beans inside.

just some things we like

cookie inspired street art...

john's crazy german pottery

winston reid and ian curtis - an unlikely couple.

Kirsty's Kitchen

Kirsty Green has transformed her kitchen into a haven of culinary learning.
On Friday night four young wannabe chefs went visiting.

Handmade pasta was the theme and Kirsty's pristine stainless bench was in for some messy flour and egg action.

Hands were the instrument de jour and the pasta started to take shape.

A production line soon ensued and the two pasta machines were a whirling with dough.

The beef ragu was portioned out and the ravioli started taking shape.

Some of Kirsty's slow cooked tomato sauce...

and dinner was served.

By all accounts the three families of the young chefs enjoyed the fruits of their labour all weekend.
Nice one Kirsty.

Here's her contact details kirstygreen@xtra.co.nz

Brooklyn Community Orchard

This Sunday saw another occasion of tree planting on the little slice of land that borders the Community centre in Brooklyn .
Last year at about this time it was feijoas, a quince, apples including Sturmer and Montys surprise and a couple of peach trees.
This time around it was pears and plums. A row of Comice and Crimson Stark pears planted next to a suitably solid Macracapa trellis that will await the young trees growing big enough to espalier.

Damson, Hawera and Coe's Golden Drop plums found their home amongst the walkway and Celia Wade Brown donated a Tamarillo from her garden which snuggled up against a concrete wall.
Hannah Zwartz spoke, the local ukele group (the Flukes) sang and strummed original fruit tree songs and the ceremonial cutting of fruit sealed the deal.

company car head gear....

always best to be well protected when dealing with caffeine ...

new company car

How refreshing to have to make up an excuse to have to go to one of our suppliers around town to pick up provisions now that we can travel in luxury on the new company vehicle.
If you don't already know about Mamachari you should take yourself down to Island Bay esplanade and check out their range of bikes.
Jason (pictured) coincidentally used to bake for us a few years gone by and now imports these delightful bikes and is helping more and more Wellingtonians get onto two wheels.

The Backroad

It's always a real pleasure to have something new presented to you.
This was the case a few weeks ago when Nikki Wilson came calling with her family made wine.
For ten years grapes have grown on the north facing slopes of Cox Vineyard in the Gibbston Valley.
Production is limited to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris and both wines show great promise.
We are pouring the Gris by the glass or if you'd like to know more you can email Doug Cox here.


We got a delivery of lovely Meyer lemons from Sabzi Organics last week. They've been turned into sweet and fragrant lemon-vanilla bean marmalade. We've also cooked up a batch of grapefruit marmalade. This batch seems full flavoured but not bitter, with lovely thin threads of translucent peel. I have Margarite to thank for her patient slicing. We've got jars on the counter along with some old fashioned lemonade syrup.

For a proper bitter marmalade we're waiting for the Seville oranges - they seem pretty hard to get hold of, so if anyone knows of a secret backyard Seville tree, let us know!

I'm looking forward to the citrus season - it seems perfectly timed to get us through the last tedious months of winter. At Commonsense today, and there were new season navels. Caramel oranges? Orange, feta and cress salad with the organic red onions I pickled last summer? Let's see...


Pretty labour intensive, but worth it as once they are sauteed in a bit of butter they are satisfyingly both crunchy and creamy. Once peeled they should be used within a couple of days.They are a truly seasonal product that doesn’t have the shelf life of other nuts, so are best stored in the fridge. To peel, use a small, sharp knife to cut a small cross through the pointy end of the chestnut. Put into boiling water, cover and boil steadily for 8 minutes. They should be peeled while still warm, and to that end, we tend to leave them in the water and pull out a few at a time. Both the glossy dark brown shell and the inner papery layer need to be removed. The second layer can really have an unpleasant taste, so persevere. It’s not a big deal if the chestnut breaks into pieces, as they are probably easier to use this way. The next step is to roast or saute the peeled chestnuts in butter, then they are ready to be combined with other ingredients...
Chestnuts do have an affinity with cabbage and brussels sprouts. I think they also work well with radicchio in a warm salad - perhaps we will get that on the menu soon with some duck. Pumpkin, sage and chestnut is the other obvious pairing this time of year.This week we have lucked onto a small supply of nettles, so have made some nettle pasta to serve with our pumpkin and chestnuts. I think nettles have a very nutty flavour, and with a bit of brown butter all these elements work together well. It’s a very pretty pasta to work with too...

Quinces in the oven

Because of their long cooking time(2.5 hours perhaps) the best option is to bake them. A heavy dish with it’s own lid reduces the amount of liquid that will evaporate. This helps the quinces cook evenly and prevents an overly sweet end result. It’s a good idea to put the quince slices into a bowl of water with a bit of lemon to reduce the oxidation, or browning, of the cut slices. Having said that, I have found any mild oxidation seems to disappear as the quinces cook.
Preheat oven to 180C
Wash 6 large quinces. Peel, and using a sharp knife, halve and quarter them.
Cut out the cores with a small knife, being sure to remove all the white inner lining.
Put in your oven dish, 5 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 c sugar and pour 500 ml water over the top. You can add a vanilla bean, halved lengthwise.
After 1/2 hour turn the oven down to 150C and cook gently for another 2 hours,removing the lid for the last half hour. The quinces should turn a shade somewhere between orange and pink. Taste the syrup for sweetness - to achieve more intensity of flavour remove the quinces from the dish and boil the syrup for a few minutes. We use quinces cooked this way on danishes and tarts, and as a component on dessert plates. Pannacotta and honey roasted quinces anyone?

keep cups keep on giving...

if you haven't heard about these or even own one, now's the time.
out of Melbourne these are the best reusable coffee cup to come our way so far.

sardines anyone?

love these little fishy friends....

quince danish

here's how those quinces ended up....


How delightful to take delivery of these two fragrant boxes .
Thanks to marcia and lars at Seresin we will be enjoying yummy quince danishes and Sarah's semolina and quince tart for days to come....

Coffee Supreme's other divison

as well as supplying the best coffee in town these boys built us a bike rack for our ever growing fleet of cycles....

built out of old pallets it is the perfect fit for our mixed bag of bikes - Tilly's old Raleigh, Matt's fixee and Kelda's slick new Scott......