We have had some inspiring guests, our animals are thriving and there are many exciting attractions to be explored in Rotorua.
Our guests come in many shapes and sizes. We have had those on their honeymoon, who have come to enjoy the romantic, idyllic setting that Blossom Cottage offers. Many families have spent their time at the cottage in the knowledge that their children are being entertained by the animals, sports gear, toys and endless green paddocks that just beg to be screamed in and run on by young feet! We have also had those on a girls' outing, who have come to enjoy the large, relaxing hot tub, open air shower overlooking stunning farmland, and the exciting attractions in and around Rotorua.
I was lucky enough to visit a brand new attraction last week called Rail Cruising. It is a new innovation and is the world's first RailCruising operation. I can already see the excitement building up and readers thinking to themselves, WHAT is RailCruising? It's an experience you have never had before. You sit in the cab of your own self-drive, four-seater locomotive with nothing ahead of you but the Dansey Forest Reserve, stunning lake views, green farmland and the railway stretching ahead of you in the distance. The views are magical and you can take in the views as far as Mount Tarawera and Lake Rotoiti. You'll feel the wind on your face and hear the native birds on this fascinating trip. Absolutely fantastic!
Another attraction worth visiting is the Rotorua Night Market, held each Thursday in the town centre. There are delicious cheeses, cakes, savouries and crafts on offer, as well as live music to keep you entertained. Many guests visit the Night Market and bring back their delicacies to enjoy on the deck with their favourite drink at our idyllic cottage.
Our property animals have been well-behaved and except for a few wild ducks stealing the hen's feed, nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Keno, our gregarious donkey, has not attempted to steal the carrots from the shed, no bunnies have escaped to go on daily adventures in our paddocks before returning to their hutch at night and Teddy, our friendly cat, is as endearing as ever, charming the guests by visiting them at night and putting on his cutest face in the hope of being invited into the warm cottage.
Talking of animals, we have an attraction next door well worth visiting. It is The Farmhouse Horse Riding and it is only a 1 minute walk from Blossom Cottage. Don't let the understated exterior fool you. The Farmhouse is run by friendly, extremely experienced individuals who will provide you with a horse riding experience that best suits your age and ability.
That's it for now. Here is a recipe that I have been making for years. My family loves them and always fight over the last morsel!
Roasted Red Peppers with Tomato Pesto
Take 4 red peppers and cut them in half lengthwise leaving the stalks on. Take out the seeds. Brush the outside and inside of the peppers with oil and place some crushed garlic, fresh basil and thyme in the peppers. Add a bit of sea salt and some ground black pepper. Spoon 1 large tablespoon of tomato pesto into the peppers. I use the Dolmio brand, but you can use your own homemade version, if you like. Slice a ripe tomato in half and put it on the pesto mixture, cut side up. Brush the tomato with a bit of oil and sprinkle on a little more salt and pepper. Put the peppers in an oven tray tightly together to prevent the peppers collapsing.
Bake in the oven at 140 degrees, fanbake, for 1-2 hours, depending on how crunchy you want your peppers to be.
Delicious with meat and potatoes, but also perfect as an entree or a light lunch with crusty bread and garlic butter. I prefer the red peppers, but the green, orange and yellow versions are tasty as well. You could also add some feta or olives, but I like the simplicity of the recipe. Basil pesto instead of the tomato pesto is a milder option.
That's all for now. Next time, I will have some more news on many exciting Rotorua attractions, animal antics and a sweet recipe for those of you who, like me, are genuine sugar addicts!
P.S. Oh yes, I forgot to say that there is an interesting exhibition on at the Rotorua Museum on Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who, after being discovered hidden in an annex in Amsterdam with her family and friends, died in a concentration camp during World War Two. Her father Otto Frank, was the only survivor. Read passages from her diary, see many photos and films. I will definitely be taking my children to see this compelling exhibition and will tell you all about it in my next Newsflash!