01 Nov The Bright Side
Well, despite the misery of wet weather, our Double Bubble Picnics have been super popular – and folks are coming back for more! That tells me that you are finding creative ways to be out and about a bit more, and enjoying meeting up with friends in safe bubbles outdoors. I have a covered, sheltered corner on our terrace which has been a perfect outdoor haven for some bubble lunches and dinners. The joy of the wet spring is the trees – growth in our valley is exceptional, and all the dams are full! Hooray for that.
There is a new Salmon, Leek and Ricotta Pie in our fridges – and it’s delicious warm or cold! Yes, you can pack this in your picnic basket and enjoy it with your other picnic treats. I recommend a cold glass of your favourite white wine alongside. I love the richness and depth of the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay from Passage Rock if you’re on a sundowner picnic, such a great pairing with fresh salmon; or try that crisp Abel Cider we keep banging on about! We have also amended our sweet pie recipes – better than ever – give them a go if you haven’t already!
A new pastry chef has joined our team, one of her specialties is Baklava – you can only get it in our city store for the moment… but it’s worth the trip into town (in my opinion!!). We are offering a limited menu in these current circumstances, but it hasn’t stopped us experimenting with some treats such as these DELISSSHIOUS cardamom scented baclava from Taiyebeh’s Iranian home. We’re also releasing some Christmas specials in the next few weeks – you will need to PRE-ORDER these products for December collection. Keep your eyes out!
Many of you know Elena Renker’s pottery, and there is a small collection now in the Mt Eden Store, with some more special pieces coming later in November. Her work is derived from traditional Japanese pottery techniques and aesthetic, each piece is unique. Elena fires in her outdoor kiln, and every firing produces a different result, a reflection of weather, wind and the nature of the wood fire and ash that blends inside the fiery cauldron – a magical process.
With spring and summer gardens and patios in mind, we have a range of herb, vegetable, flower and wild garden seed packs in the Mt Eden store from Little Sun Seeds and Hydrangea Ranger, alongside houseplants and some other great garden additions – like bird feeders to hang from a tree or hook on your balcony. We even have a book or two to inspire and support new gardeners on their planting and harvest journeys.
Speaking of vegetables, have you been eating broad beans? We have, there is an avalanche in our kitchen from the vigorous and productive plants in the garden. They take time to prepare, but they are so vivid, versatile and nutritious. If you are also inundated with them, you can blanch them and cool them to freeze. After blanching, slip them out of their skins, it’s a bit fiddly but well worth it, then pack them loosely in plastic bags for the freezer. I’m focused on broad beans in the recipe this week. You can make so many things with them – even a delicious Broad Bean Pesto, try adding fresh mint to it.
Finally, a reminder to check in on neighbours and friends, young and old. Many people are needing a listening ear, a laugh or a bit of extra help as we negotiate the slow and steady Covid roadmap toward reopening. We are getting there with vaccinations, so please keep looking on the bright side!!
Broad Bean Risotto
A dazzling green dish to serve as a vegetarian main (Gluten Free too) or top with slow cooked lamb or a lemon grilled fish fillet .
3 tbsp olive oil , 1/2 a finely diced onion, and 1 finely diced celery stick. 2 cups risotto rice. 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock and 1 cup white wine.
1 cup roughly chopped or torn spinach
2/3 cup each of blanched broad beans and frozen peas
50 grams of grated parmesan OR for vegans – replace with 1 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup crème fraîche (vegans – 1/2 cup coconut cream)
1 lemon, zested and a squeeze of juice
To Serve: Micro cress/rocket and (optional) your addition such as a grilled fish fillet or pieces of slow roasted lamb shoulder.
In a food processor add the spinach and 2 tbsp of hot water and whizz to a purée.
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and add the onion and celery with a little salt. Sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the risotto rice and stir, ensuring every grain is coated in oil. Pour in the wine and let it bubble until it’s almost evaporated. Slowly add the stock, one ladle at a time, and keep stirring constantly, adding stock as each ladle is absorbed.
When the rice is almost cooked, stir through the spinach purée, broad beans and peas. Cook for a further 5 minutes, while continuing the stirring!
Once the rice and vegetables are cooked, stir through the parmesan (or nutritional yeast), crème fraîche (or coconut cream), lemon zest and juice, season and top with micro cress or rocket…and add that piece of grilled fish or lamb shoulder if you wish!
Let’s Handwoven Penan Bags for beach, barbeque, playground or picnic
Our range of handwoven Penan bags are utterly gorgeous with an equally lovely story to match. New Zealander Jacky McLaren spent years as a teacher in Borneo. During her time there, Jacky developed a deep relationship with the local women and was inspired to create Borneo Bags, a Not for Profit organisation to help support them. These bright, light colourful bags were originally made from local rattan fibre, however as Borneo forests were destroyed, the women discovered durable strapping from shipping containers worked just as well. When you purchase a Penan Bag you become part of the circle helping the women of Penan to thrive. Aside from being such a wonderful cause, we just love these bags to pieces, and they make great gifts!
What a fabulous response to our new picnic range. You’re a wonderful bunch, many of you ordering for friends, staff, colleagues and family in recent weeks. There are 4 options to choose from including Ready to Go (sandwiches freshly made up), a Luxe picnic hamper, a vegan hamper & a DIY Double Bubble option too. When the sun shines, make hay; failing that, share a Scarecrow picnic. 😉
Calling all Budding Bakers
We have brand new gift options for the aspiring bakers out there… The Budding Baker Hamper includes a Hill Street Kid’s Baking Kit, Secret Kiwi Kitchen Pancake & Waffle Mix and other bits & pieces to inspire your mini pastry chef! Also added, the Maison Pâtissière Hamper. Get your festive baking off to a great start, or make someone’s day and have one delivered to a loved one’s door.
Plants & Flowers
Stop by Scarecrow Grocer at 811 Mt Eden Road during the week to view the florist’s selection of houseplants & posies. This is the season of growth & renewal and houseplants are a wonderful way to remind ourselves of all that positive energy. Give us a call on 09 377 1333 ext 4 to speak to the florist or shop online and we will deliver a bouquet to brighten the day.
Pumpkins & Sunshine
Keep the love with these joyous colours… a reflection of the American Thanksgiving Season. A reminder to us all to be mindful and practice gratitude, despite all the tough stuff we are going through in our communities and families. Send some sunshine to those you love who might be needing a little support. We know the pumpkins are not seasonal in NZ (are you planting them right now?), but we reckon these glowing squash colours are good any time of the year!
The winemakers of Aotearoa are amongst the finest in the world. Scarecrow’s cellar hosts a collection of small-production, organic and natural winemakers from around the country. Pop over to the website to see the combinations we’ve devised; guaranteed to impress at your next long lunch or as a gift.
We’re here to help
Our staff in both stores have been wonderful these past few months, working hard under Covid restrictions to continue to serve, guide and inform you of all our new products & offerings. If you need help with gift ideas, flowers, wines, ready meals, or just a lovely olive oil or artisan cheese, come in and see us.