This week’s small pleasures #336

It really feels like we are edging towards winter. It is darker in the morning as I head off to work, and the evening skies seem to turn to night earlier and earlier. The cosy blankets come out, the candles get lit and warming foods like shepherd’s pie get put on the table. These are actually some of the small pleasures of the season if you ask me. Anyway, off to the good things of this week.

More Wellington on a Plate x 2

This past week was the second half of Wellington on a Plate, and I managed to fit in two more visits for some great food. Pies are one of the national dishes of New Zealand, so I had to try this braised Awatoru wild venison and Te Kairanga pinot noir pie with pommes alligot and Wellington Chocolate Factory jus (in the little jug), served with a glass of the same wine as in the pie at Pickle & Pie. Verdict? Excellent! A really juicy pie, full of flavour.

We also had dinner at Wellington institution Boulcott Street Bistro. As part of Wellington on a Plate, they offered a three course meal, with one of the main dish options being their entry into the Dine section of the festival. I opted for the tuna crudo, topped with pickled radish, yuzu dressing and micro coriander to start, which was delicious. Karl chose the braised wild rabbit ragoût, puff pastry, mushrooms and pea puree which also got rave reviews and looked really pretty too.

I then had the Festival dish Cereal Cray which was a tiger prawn risotto with a butter poached crayfish medallion and saffron oil which was really good, while Karl had the braised short rib with swede and carrot mash, sautéed spinach. Dessert was a Baba au rhum with Chantilly cream.

Other food

In the basket this week were seasonal root vegetables – parsnips and celeriac, along with potatoes and carrots. There were mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes (probably the last ones for a while), persimmons, pears and these little bright capsicums. The wet weather on Saturday kept us indoors, so I made a quick batch of currant scones to have with Earl Grey tea, which seemed the right thing to do on a wet weekend afternoon.

Simple things

  • Spending a lot of time on the sofa drinking tea and reading at the weekend.
  • Getting the last of the bulbs planted – finally!
  • Counting down the days until our trip.
  • Enjoying Wellington on a Plate 2023.
  • Listening to bird song in the mornings.
  • Remembering my parents who were both both on 20 May, 1 year apart.

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 the look of the pie in the first photo and I also remember a wonderful fish pie which I had in Wellington, so I’m not surprised pies are a national dish. Happy birthday to both your parents… a double celebration every year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your roses are exquisite! I once had a rose garden I was proud of, and that is very special. I did not plant it myself, but took great care in improving it every year. Your roses are beautiful.
    Everything is starting to grow here in Dalarna. It is extremely green and lush at the moment. I’m enjoying it from the comfort of my home, mostly, still recovering from my bad wasp incident last weekend, but still…it is very beautiful outside my door. And the greenery at the balcony is getting greener 🙂 How many days is it left until your trip? Exciting times!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh they aren’t roses – camellias and in the Botanic Gardens not my own garden unfortunately. They are lovely though.

      So glad you are feeling better.

      We leave on 9 June…counting the days!


  3. Another collection of lovely small pleasures Barbara with that rose taking the cake in my eyes! I had a ‘moment’ when you said winter was well on the way, as it’s so lovely here in the UK at the moment that I got a bit confused, maybe I’ve acclimatised??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All your food photos look delicious. Very cute pictures of you with your parents. I look forward to hearing about your trip. Thank you for the mention and for your weekend coffee share.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Barbara,

    I hope I have this right – wild venison in pinot noir pie sounds fabulous! Here in the California Sonoma County wine country, we have lots of options for great red wines and pinot noir is just one of many favorites. Wine shopping, even at the discount stores, presents a huge variety of choices and thus they show up often on our tables.

    How cool that your parents were both born on the same day. That had to make for fun mid-May parties

    Liked by 1 person

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