Tag Archives: Northland

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.

Northland: Cape Reinga and Ninety Miles of Beach

After a ferry ride crossing the Hokianga Harbor to Kohukohu, we drove to Cape Reigna at the top of the North Island. This was a pilgrimage of sorts. We were looking for closure, symmetry. Having traveled to the most southerly point of the South Island, we were determined to have matched NZ’s topographic tips. Continue reading

Northland: Wild Pigs and Kauri Gum

While waiting for a ferry to cross the Hokianga Harbor, we strolled the tiny harbor village of Rawene, fringed by mangrove trees that grow in sea mud. The locals use the mangrove leaves, which are loaded with salt, to smoke their fish.

A pickup attached to a trailer of five caged dogs caught my attention. I chatted up with the owner, a guy named Joe. He was heading into the Northland bush to hunt wild pigs with his nephews and brother, and was eager to share his story. Continue reading

Northland: Baylys Beach—A Living Sandstone Sculpture

We’re already missing New Zealand, and we haven’t even left yet. Baylys Beach is the kind of place I will miss the most—the West Coast beaches piled with miles of sand dunes. The gullies and cliffs, beautifully etched by wind, water and time, feel like a gargantuan sandstone sculpture. Continue reading