It is hard to believe that it is March and that we are still enjoying beautiful weather. We have had
a hot, dry summer, blue skies day after day, with many parts of New Zealand being declared as drought
areas. Fantastic for our tourists, who are heading to the lakes and beaches in their droves, but not so for our farmers, parched garden and Blossom Cottage animals!
Speaking of the Blossom Cottage animals, there is never a dull moment. The donkeys have been stealing the bunnies' food, the hens have been stealing the ducks' food and one of our black hens has been sneaking off to lay her eggs in the Blossom Cottage garden. You may not know this, but the Blossom Cottage garden is out of bounds for the hens as, much to the dismay of the guests, they deposit little, smelly fertilizer parcels at the cottage doorstep. Even though the hens can scratch, peck and cluck their way to Rotorua city if they wanted to, this part of our lifestyle block has been fenced off. One morning, one of our guests came to the door and revealed that our black hen, Henrietta, had discovered a couple of holes in the fence and instead of laying them in the hen-house for the guests, had hidden about 20 eggs in a grassy nest near the cottage! Rene solved the problem and repaired the holes. To Henrietta's surprise, she was unable to deliver her next fresh egg to her grassy nest and spent the best part of an hour walking up and down the fence, seething, looking flabbergasted and frustrated, searching and re-tracing her tracks, but not finding the hole in the fence. After what seemed an eternity and keeping her legs tightly crossed, she gave a big sigh, stopped her search for the elusive hole and plopped out her egg next to the fence on the appropriate side of the property! Needless to say, the next morning a shiny white egg was discovered, lying snug and warm in the hen-house in her laying box!
Sometimes our animals can't help getting into trouble when an opportunity arises. We had some lovely guests from Auckland, who came to Blossom Cottage for some relaxation. One morning, they paid our animals a visit, when Treacle, our male bunny sped past the guests in our paddock. The other bunnies, all demure females, were safely and securely in their large run. Treacle is our free-spirited bunny and he runs freely during the day and returns to his hutch in the evening. Thinking he had escaped, our guests caught Treacle and let him loose with the ladies to get re-acquainted. Now, what choice did Treacle have? Here were four pretty girls flirting with him, so he did what any healthy boy would do .................! The guests, who suddenly realized that a big mistake had been made and that Treacle's moment of gallatry had to be cut short, removed him from the run. Poor Treacle looked back at the girls with a big sense of disappointment at not having been able to prolong this wonderful moment of passion! Who could be angry at Treacle? It wasn't his fault, was it? We will keep you up-to-date on the arrival of any Treacle Juniors!
Blossom Cottage has had a bumper season, with a variety of guests from many countries, but predominately the UK and Australia. We have had families with young children, who have enjoyed our guinea-pigs, donkeys and eccentric hens and have disappeared into the magical world of fantasy with our vintage suitcases full of toys and dressing-up clothes. Good friends have come to Blossom Cottage to wash away any lingering stress in the hot-tub at night, while observing the Milky Way on moonlit nights and then there have been the guests who come to visit Rotorua's awe-inspiring attractions.
One of these attractions is Whakarewarewa, a living thermal village, which is just three km south of the city centre. About 25 families live in the village, famous for its Maori cultural performances, hangi, bubbling mud pools and boiling Champagne Pool, which can boil an egg in one minute and a mussel in three seconds. Whakarewarewa is also well-known for the Pohutu Geyser, which blows its top with a roar and billowing steam clouds that drift over silica terraces. Well worth a visit.
A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a beautiful walk, close to the old Te Puia carpark, so I decided to go and see for myself. After we passed through a wooden archway, we discovered a 100 year old track, which had recently been cleared away to reveal an idyllic forest walk, dotted with wild flowers, next to the flowing Puranga River. On our way, we passed an old pumphouse, which used to provide water for the Waipa residents close by. The walk, which is also popular with mountain bikers, continues to the left to the Waipa Forest with its many tracks and bends to the right and continues all the way to Taupo.
While guests stay at Blossom Cottage, they often shop for groceries and spend a relaxing evening on the cottage deck, soaking in the tub, taking in the sublime views and cooking dinner on the barbeque. Others go into Rotorua city to search for the perfect restaurant for dinner. One of my favourite restaurants is a Thai restaurant in Eruera Street called Herbs and Spices. The decor is very understated, but the food never fails to disappoint. Another popular place is The Pig and Whistle, which serves very tasty pub meals in Tutanekai Street. The Pig and Whistle is in a beautiful art-deco buiIding, which originally housed Rotorua's first police station. If you are looking for English food in a quaint, two-storey character house, complete with a library, then Harringtons in Hinemoa Street is the place for you. Last, but not least, is Capers in Eruera Street, where you can get a large or small meal and great coffee. They have a movie-room for the little ones and the latest magazines,newspapers and a large assortment of delicious desserts.
Speaking of desserts, below is a recipe made with eggs and one tablespoon of flour:
Melt, au-bain-marie, 275 grams dark chocolate (70%) with 165 grams of butter and 275 grams of sugar.
Using the mixer, beat 5 eggs with 1 tablespoon of flour.
Carefully, fold the egg mixture through the, slightly cooled, chocolate mixture.
Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 55 minutes. Very rich, but delicious with whipped cream.
Enjoy the chocolate cake and I will be back with more animal antics, delicious recipes and Blossom Cottage news!