Category Archives: Food, Wine & Cuisine

Northland: Three-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

This rich yummy chocolate cake was made special for us by our Northland backpackers lodge hostess Sue. A former nurse, she moved to in Omapere, NZ from the United Kingdom 15 years ago and started the fabulous Northland backpackers lodge Globe Trekkers with her son Mike. After a full day of exploring the Hokianga Harbor region, this cake went down smooth as butter.

Three-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

1 coffee mug
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons super fine sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons mini-chocolate chips
splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix well, scraping the sides of the mug. Pour in milk and oil; mix well. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla. Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on high (give or take a minute depending on the vintage/wattage of the microwave).

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed. Allow the cake to cool a bit, then tip out onto a plate—or hell eat it out of mug if you’re desperate.

This can easily be shared by two people, unless either is a chocolate hound (like my father-in-law Bob Bird). Otherwise, double the recipe.

Hawke’s Bay: scrambling beaches and climbing peaks

Kenton has The Big Frown on his face, the one he uses when I get a little too frisky. “Gerri, I don’t want you up there. Those rocks aren’t stable. See the ….” Just then, my footfall crumbles. Maybe he’s right. It’s pouring rain. “Okay, fine,” I say, exasperated, looking frantically for another way down the ledge. This wanna-be adventurer wasn’t keen on digging out of a sandstone avalanche. Continue reading

Feasting at L’Arte Cafe and nesting in Hawke’s Bay

We love road-tripping highways and especially byways, and tracing our path on the New Zealand atlas. We’re learning how to create adventure, momentous and miniscule, wherever we go as we criss-cross the landscape coast to coast, north to south. Today Easter Monday, enroute to Napier via Lake Taupo, we dined for lunch at a funky garden oasis. Continue reading

A whirlwind Hawke’s Bay winery tour

What’s to be done when girlfriends come a callin’ and want to see a bit of New Zealand’s wine country? Road trip! Off to Hawke’s Bay the three of us romped (Theresa, Rebecca and I). It’s the second largest wine-producing region of the country. Having no experience with wine tours, I didn’t know what to expect—except for vague notions of quaint chateaus nestled into picturesque countryside. Surprise, surprise! Continue reading

First week highlights in New Zealand

Kenton and I have been in New Zealand one week—except that we’re one day ahead here and three hours behind. Before everything dissolves into mush, I need to “get it while the gettin’s good,” as my father used to say. Here unadorned, in no particular order, are 10 highlights of our first week in this new place—a tiny scrap of green land in the midst of a deep blue sea. Continue reading