This week’s small pleasures #302

Today has been a holiday in New Zealand to mark the passing of the Queen. It has also been a glorious sunny day, so just perfect for an extra day away from the office. However, there is great sadness in our home just now. Our cat Charlie left home on Sunday evening and has failed to return. A couple of neighbours are looking out for him, we’ve left a cushion he likes to sleep on by the door, called his name, put a ‘missing cat’ notice on Facebook but no sign of him yet. I cannot tell you how much we want him to come home.

I was in Christchurch this past week for work. After all day meetings, walks in Hagley Park provided a welcome de-stress, with cherry blossom everywhere and peaceful moments beside weeping willows.

I stayed at the Sudima Hotel in the city centre, and two nights enjoyed dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, The Lane. The first evening, I opted for the tamari cured Ōra King salmon, which was lovely, clean and fresh. I followed this with the slow-roast lamb shoulder served with curried cauliflower purée, roast pumpkin and a sprinkling of feta. This was also good, with lovely melt-in-the-mouth lamb. The second evening I had the courgette and creamed corn ‘donuts’ which were basically round fritters and then the pappardelle with, pumpkin, toasted pine nuts and goat which was really good. In case you are wondering, the lunches were, let’s just say, not very good, hence the dinner time treats! And yes, I did have poached eggs for breakfast each day, adding bacon on the final day for an extra treat.

I got home on Thursday evening, so missed Pilates, which meant that my usual Saturday class was even more important. I decided to walk and take the cable car that morning just for a change Here is the view from the window going down and a close up of the wonderful kōwhai found just outside the station – for more, see the featured image at the top of the post.

And so to more food….and in the shopping basket this week was some kale, which I used as the basis for my weekday lunch boxes along with roasted chickpeas, feta and other good things. Carrots, ginger, oranges, another of the lovely grapefruit that is about, and a celeriac that I forgot to use in the mash to top the cottage pie I have made for dinner tonight. Ah well….there was also spinach, salmon and of course more asparagus.

It was our wedding anniversary on Sunday, so on Saturday evening we went out for dinner to Ortega Fish Shack, where I enjoyed the blue moki ceviche and snapper with a mussel vinaigrette, broccoli, seaweed butter and a layer of potatoes under the fish. Both dishes were absolutely gorgeous, and Karl’s duck liver pate and beef fillet were also excellent.

Other small pleasures this week have been the wonderful display of tulips in the Botanic Gardens, a catch up with my nephew and his family before they move back down to Christchurch and meeting an old acquaintance from Glasgow for tea and chat.

Today’s small pleasures including spending time in the kitchen, cooking, which I love to do, and going to the cinema to see the fun comedy See How They Run, about a murder in the theatre where Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is being performed. Great fun!

So, what were your small pleasures this week? Here are some other blog posts from a few fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life. 

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

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. Work lunches are seldom worth writing home about and so I am glad you could make up for them in the evenings. I hope you find Charlie – it’s the not knowing that is the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely food and good times. However, having had beloved pets over the years, they become such a part of the family, just awful when they are not there. Good luck and I hope he finds his way back home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a pleasure to read so much beautiful food writing! I’m mesmerized by the textures and smells of the words themselves in your hands. You bring such deep pleasure to us with your simple ones!

    I send warm, loving thoughts for Charlie’s safe return and affection to you as wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for the mention and your weekend coffee share. I’m sorry to hear about Charlie going missing. I hope he turns up soon. Your flower and food photos are beautiful. The kōwhai flowers are interesting as I don’t see them where I live.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Barbara, I haven’t heard of that beautiful yellow plant/tree you mention here, it’s fabulous! Lots of yummy food here. Happy anniversary too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Heaven’s above- I feel overloaded with food but it all looks delicious. Belated anniversary wishes and I absolutely love that opening shot. What a fabulous plant!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I just saw that your cat came home…yay! I’m really behind in commenting from last week. Those dishes you enjoyed at the restaurant looked amazing!!! So did your market basket. I love all of those items.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I tend to read your post out of order, so it is a great relief that I knew that Charlie returned from a previous post 🙂 All of your meals also look delicious! 

    Liked by 1 person

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