This week’s small pleasures #149

What a week! Travel, having an awful cough and a bit of a cold, going to films on the New Zealand International Film Festival and having our first tastes of Wellington on a Plate…yes, our diaries have been rather full, so all the more important to stop and remember the highlights.

First up…in Friday’s post I mentioned our fantastic meal at Field & Green on Thursday. The dish entered for the Festival Dish prize was this amazing cassola. Think the lightest baked ricotta citrus soufflé with marmalade and dark chocolate…it was absolutely fantastic and a real pleasure to savour and enjoy. This is what it looks like – sorry I can’t add in a taste test.

Cassola…a real small pleasure

Still on food, this week also saw a vegetable lasagna in a cosy wee place in Tauranga, a perfect baguette sandwich filled with ham that made me feel like I was in France, and, of course, my Saturday toast at Squirrel.

Saturday toast with ricotta, radish and micro greens

Our first ‘event’ as opposed to ‘dining’ on Wellington on a Plate was our fifth excursion (5th year..not 5 times this year!) to the Beer No Evil, Pie No Evil beer and pie tasting at Sprig and Fern on Tinakori Road. This year the pie and beer matches were: Tasman Reserve with kumara and coconut pie, KPA (Kiwi pale ale) paired with a smoked fish pie, an APA (American pale ale) matched with the Tex Mex pie, a Barrel Aged Saison, specially brewed for the event with a beef, bacon and blue cheese pie and for dessert, an apple cider* with an apple an allspice pie. I think my favourite was number 4, though number 1 was good as I really liked the pie. Karl’s favourite combo was definitely number 4, followed by 3.

Beers and pies for Sunday lunch

Turning away from food, we managed three films on the Film Festival over the weekend. On Friday evening we went to see the latest Ken Loach Sorry We Missed You. Even though his films are not exactly cheery (this film tackles the struggle of raising a family while dealing with zero-hour contracts and zero-benefits employment), they always make you think, and his direction and use of improvisation are wonderful to watch. Recommenced. Saturday saw a friend and I go to see Halston, a documentary about the rise and fall of the dress designer. It was a really interesting film, with some great archive material, and what interested us most was how timeless some of his designs were and the craftsmanship in the pattern design. A must for this interested in either the era or fashion. The third one we caught was Cold Case Hammarskjöld. Another documentary, this was about the death of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld plane crash in Northern Rhodesia in 1961. While it was a really interesting film, there were a few flaws such as a lack of detail about the man himself, and the investigator, Danish journalist Mads Brügger, was rather annoying, clearly wanting to be centre stage and not allowing the story itself to be the focus of attention. Anyway, it was still worth seeing.

Sunday, Botanic Gardens

There are so many films on the festival, and a whole lot we would have liked to have seen, but there are only so many hours in the day and dollars in the bank. Some of them will come back for screenings later in the year I am sure.

Of course, the Botanic Gardens are beginning to look lovely as you can see above and below. We are having a bit of a cold snap, but the sun has been shining again today, always a small pleasure.

Daffodil time

And that’s it for this week. What were your small pleasures?

Thanks to Mani over at A New Life Wandering for the original idea.

*For American readers, cider is an alcoholic drink, not apple juice.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. Oh, that food! Looks utterly delicious. The films all sound fascinating, especially the Ken Loach film. He really does tackle the issues of our times. Hope your cold is better soon.


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