This week’s small pleasures #251

We are now well in to September, and it is 9 years since we first visited Wellington prior to us moving here. This is just so hard to believe! We are still at Alert Level 2, and I can’t see this changing next week even if Auckland drops to Level 3. Let’s see what the Prime Minister says later today. Meanwhile. at least vaccination rates are going up, and one of this week’s small pleasures is the we are now both fully vaccinated. Hoorah!

And so to some other small pleasures of the week. The tulip display in the Botanic Gardens is coming on apace. I spotted these beauties on Saturday morning. Tulip Sunday, due to be held next week, has been cancelled again, but providing the weather is good, think we might head down anyway and see how far the flowers have come along.

Moving to food, and let’s start with our second Burger Wellington burger, eaten at Ombra. This burger was a venison and pork patty with wild pork bacon, smoked provolone and roasted tomato mayonnaise served with rosemary salted fries. A bit spicy and full of flavour, it was a real delight. I’m not too keen on shoestring fries, but really it was the burger we were there to eat.

The cabbage I bought last week was made into Ottolenghi’s roast cabbage with pecorino and tarragon (the latter from the garden – so good to see that plant spring back to life!), a really lovely dish that even non lovers of cabbage can be tempted with. I picked up the first asparagus of the season on Saturday (a trifle pricey still but I couldn’t walk past it), along with a small cauliflower (a favourite vegetable along with cabbage), more fennel, cavolo nero, some red onions, mushrooms, lemons, tangerines, some dark, red yams (oca) and red and yellow tamarillos which I will macerate to have with breakfast yoghurt.

On Wednesday I popped in to old favourite Pickle & Pie for lunch, enjoying an excellent sandwich based around smoked fish and topped with paua and served with a salad. It was delicious and a great midweek treat. On Sunday, we met family at Brooklyn Deli for lunch. It had been a few years since we were last there, so it was good to go back. I opted for a bratwurst with potato salad and sauerkraut.

My great nephew was one year old on Friday, so we met him, my nephew and his wife on Sunday (see above). It was so nice to see them and to wish the youngest member of the family many happy returns.

Finally, Charlie has been enjoying sunny days, sleeping in the sun or going for walks. He has become much more cuddly in recent months, no doubt as he is getting older. Anyway, he loves to be the centre of attention regardless.

What were your small pleasures? Here are some other blog posts from fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life.

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


  1. Beautiful, delicious small pleasures. Your great nephew is adorable. Thank you for the mention and for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare. Have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a gently inspiring blog to read first thing on a Monday morning. I am pleased you liked my willow pattern china and have enjoyed looking at some of the other blogs you have mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Anne! Your willow pattern post reminded me so much of my now departed mum. My niece inherited it all, which was fine by me. Now I am wondering if I should at least own one piece myself!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That sandwich looks so yummy! Congrats on the boosts in vaccination in NZ. Thankfully our rates have increased in California but that has been due to these vaccine mandates at various schools and employers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi T&K,

    I’m running late this weekend and almost missed you.

    Your description of that cabbage has me longing for it. It’s one of my favorite dishes. In the photo you included some asparagus and I’m pleased to report that last night was the first time in 3+ weeks that we’ve had family over for dinner because I was recovering from covid (thankfully a very mild case) and my wife served up a favorite we all love – baked asparagus, drizzled with olive oil then salt and peppered and baked. It’s so simple and tastes amazing. It never lasts long and we rarely have any the next day when leftovers are so highly sought after.

    But the best part of the evening was easily having my family with us again. The worst part of covid for me was the isolation from everyone. At least that’s history for now.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes your food photos are terrific … and the food looks very tempting! How great to have family living in the same city… and your little grand nephew is a cutie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yay for being fully vaccinated! It’s nice to see you going on with life and being out of strict lockdowns. And that vaccination rates are going up. I hope you enjoy the spring weather and have a lovely week

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Last night we had comfite chick peas from Ottolenghi’s OTK book – delicious! A lot of his recipes are wonderful! We’re just a bit far away for the Wellington on a Plate Burgers, but have discovered Vixen Burger in Featherston. They are delicious. I suspect they visit C’est Cheese for some of the cheeses they use. I am so glad to have moved to the Wairarapa from Auckland – and have really settled in and love seeing the Tararuas, especially with a dusting of snow. This is just a(nother) beautiful part of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Ottolenghi’s recipes are good, and not all are complicated. Good to know about Vixen Burger. We’ve been to Brac and Bow in Featherstone a couple of times and enjoyed it. Good to know of somewhere else over the hills! C’est Cheese is a lovely wee shop. Happy to hear you are enjoying the Wairarapa!

      Liked by 1 person

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