This week’s small pleasures #327

It really feels like that transition period between summer and autumn. The mornings are darker, the Japanese anemones are in full flower while the hydrangeas are fading to autumn shades. This morning I noticed the first yellow leaves on the gingko in the Botanic Gardens. As the notice at the entrance to the gardens says, the signs of autumn are all around. The little statues below can be seen at the Glenmore Street entrance to the gardens just near the sign.

Tastes of autumn

The shopping basket this week also reflects the changing seasons…a butternut squash, feijoas, a celeriac, but still tomatoes and green beans. There were red onions, lemons and mushrooms, shallots and chicory or witloof. I turned the chicory into lunch time salads with apple, pistachios and feta and made some apple scones for afternoon tea on Saturday, enjoying them outside with a cup of Earl Grey tea.


On Sunday I cooked something new – a chicken, leek and tarragon pie with a crumble topping from Keep it Delicious by Marc Weir. While in my opinion you can’t go wrong with a combination of these ingredients and flavours, it was interesting to try a crumble top pie for a change. The crumble was made with cooked freekah and parmesan, as well as the usual butter and flour. I cooked a lot less freekah than the recipe suggested, since on this occasion I didn’t want any left overs. It made a nice addition, giving a bit of a ‘nutty’ flavour and adding texture to the crumble. It was the perfect late summer dish.

What’s on, what’s planned

On Thursday I went to the New Zealand School of Dance for an interesting evening Behind The Scenes with choreographer Jeremy Beck and a group of contemporary students demonstrating the creative process that goes into producing a new dance work. It was a highly enjoyable evening, and fascinating to see part of the work coming together.

My new copy of Dish magazine arrived, full of ideas for the coming months (smoky sweetcorn chowder, stuffed meatballs…). The first tickets went on sale today for events at Wellington on a Plate, the big food festival here in the city. This year taking place in two halves – with Dine Wellington, the cocktail competition and many events happening in May and Burger Wellington in August. I got my tickets today for three sessions of the Eat Your Words food writing and food writers day long ‘festival within a festival’ today at least, and we have already booked two restaurant events. More on those in May….

Simple things

  • Pizza with friends after the cinema.
  • Some sunny days.
  • Making a full, cooked breakfast on Sunday with black pudding, bacon, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Listening to the sounds of nature from the cicadas to the birds to the wind in the trees.
  • Starting a new detective novel.
  • Treating myself to some lovely rose scented shower gel and body lotion.

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. Also entered in The Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie.

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. If you want to get in touch, email me on or


  1. I love that informative garden sign. Our community garden needs something like similar. It’s funny how the new season always creeps up on us rather fast. I love autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love autumn—I must admit I love all four seasons—and the slant of light through changing leaves. How lucky to live so close to the Botanic Garden. I, too, enjoyed reading the sign. Have you ever been to the tree house? Lots going on where you live. Earl Grey is one of my favorites, and I will soon be having a mid-morning cup. As always, thanks for the mention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes there is something about autumn…not too cold but time to just slow down a bit. Yes we are so lucky having the gardens so near to where we live. The Tree House is a sort of information centre and shop, but they do have talks there too. I should really make more effort to go to some of these.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That sign and the statues are lovely! It’s definitely starting to feel a but like autumn here too. Another lovely collection of food and posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your food sounds yummy! Autumn is my favorite time of year, so I imagine you are looking forward to it. We are moving into spring, but I’m still cooking winter dishes – lots of soups. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely simple pleasures and you got me thinking of apple scones with Earl grey tea, yum! Nature is amazing. This week I spotted crocus, snowdrops and aconites in my corner of the world. They are sure signs of spring. Thank you for the mention and for your weekend coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that sign. Makes me want to stay and linger. What a cute statue. I’ve not had celeriac and had to look up what feijoas were. Everything looks amazing. I’m thinking maybe I’ll challenge myself to buy one thing I’ve never cooked with each time we visit the farmers market this summer. That magazine sounds awesome too. When we visited family in Ohio, we heard the cicada every day and I loved it. We don’t have them here in Washington state.

    Liked by 1 person

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