Last Of The Summer Fruits At Our BnB

Figs mark the end of summer for us and are something we often associate with Easter.

Figs are one of those fruit that have a short season, and when they’re available we gobble them for breakfast, dessert and pre-drink nibbles. Figs go wonderfully with with cheese, particularly mozzarella, blue cheese and goat’s cheese. I like them stuffed with blue cheese or goat’s cheese and roasted quickly in a very hot oven. They’re also beautiful when paired with cured meats like prosciutto or ham and drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Figs are very delicate and perishable, and it is not a great idea to pick figs that aren’t completely ripe as they don’t continue to ripen once they’re off the tree; they may soften after a few days at room temperature, but they don’t develop the same flavour. We get our figs from heritage trees which grow wild down at one of our local beaches, and we like to pick them when they yield to a gentle squeeze but don’t feel mushy.

Fig_and_yogurt_breakfastBrunch or Breakfast Treats

The earthy sweetness of the figs is well complemented by the tang of yoghurt; we liked to use coconut yoghurt. We poach the figs in honey and vanilla and pile them onto sweet pastry cases. We then serve them dolloped with yoghurt, a wee sprinkle of cinnamon and a topping of walnuts, pistachios or almonds. They’re good.

As stewed figs also freeze well, we can serve up our fig tartlets outside autumn. I can serve them to our guests all year round, or as long as they last without being gobbled up!

Again, as with the other blog posts, the photo on the right is not mine; I am hopeless with a camera, even on a phone. This “found photo”, however, is pretty similar to how our fig tartlets look when served up as brunch or breakfast treats (except we add more figs). We got our inspiration for these goodies through a recipe from Wendy Campbell’s French Bistro which was in Martinborough.

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rolls for breakfast

Warm rolls with a tang for breakfast

Orange Rolls

I made these breakfast rolls as I saw them as a good change from croissants and I felt they would freeze and reheat very well. I was right! Well worth the effort.

They are a really nice accompaniment to a small savoury and the orange flavour has a very nice wee punch.

The original recipe came from CammyLee at Recipe Snobs, thank you, but I did make a couple of small changes.


2 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water – about 37 degrees (blood temperature)
1/2 cup sugar (divided between dough and filling)
1/2 cup or ½ 150 gm punnet of sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
450 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 cups), divided
Cooking spray

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 tablespoons grated orange rind
A little orange juice

1/4 cup sugar
50 grams butter
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup r or ½ 150 gm punnet of sour

To prepare dough, dissolve the yeast in warm water with a dash of sugar in a small bowl; let it stand 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 punnet of sour cream, 2 tablespoons softened butter, salt, egg, and yeast mixture. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add 2 cups of flour to yeast mixture; beat until smooth before adding the last cup, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent your dough from sticking to hands and the bench.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for just over 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Punch the dough down; cover and let rest for a further 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion or dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. Brush surface of each circle with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and rind. Sprinkle half of sugar mixture over each circle. Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up each wedge tightly, beginning at wide end. Place rolls, point sides down, in a baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake (not fan bake as they cook too quickly) at 180 degrees C for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

While the rolls bake, prepare the glaze. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 50 grams butter, and orange juice in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in sour cream. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls; let stand 20 minutes before serving.

I then froze the rolls complete with glaze. I placed the defrosted rolls in a cold oven (set to 175 degrees C) for 10 minutes. They reheated very nicely.

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Breakfast at Mahurangi West Wing

During autumn we have a plethora of figs which grow wild down at one of our local beaches. I found this recipe on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website and was really pleased with it. The vanilla with the figs makes for quite a decadent breakfast. The stewed figs also freeze well which means I can serve these to our guests all year round – well as long as they last without being gobbled up!

Please note the photo is not mine as I am hopeless with a camera, but this “found photo” is a pretty close rendition of how they looked.

I used slightly less honey than the recipe called for as I just found it a wee bit too sweet.

Breakfast Stewed Figs

Stewed Vanilla Infused Figs

B&B-stewed-figsThese figs are great as a special breakfast with yogurt and cereal. Our guests also ate them as dessert!


2 tablespoons honey (I used 1 tbsp but I guess it would depend on the sweetness of the figs)
1 tablespoon water
1 vanilla bean (I used 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
2 strips of lemon zest
250g fresh figs


Rinse the figs and pinch off the stems. Cut them in half.

Split the vanilla bean in half.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey, water, vanilla bean and lemon zest over a low flame.

Stir to dissolve the honey and turn off the heat.

Add the figs, gently toss them in the honey mixture, and let them rest, covered, for an hour.

Turn the heat to very low and gently simmer the figs for 30 to 40 minutes, turning them carefully so that they don’t fall apart but are just cooked through.

Remove the pan from the heat and let them cool to room temperature.

To serve, divide the figs between two bowls and spoon their pink syrup over them.

Chef: Sara Morley

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Auckland Escape? Kia Ora: Puhoi Village

Origin of name: Maori for slow water – a reference to the tidal river that rules the town.

Population: 500.

Town slogan: Puhoi: Historic Village.

Town origins: Settled in the 1860s by hardy pioneers from Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic, the intrepid Bohemians were lured with the promise of free land. Hard slog ensued but the hardy souls proved more than up to the challenge.

Look lively: One of Puhoi’s historic bullock teams featured a legendary fellow named Lively. Renowned for his strength, Lively was not always brave and, when pulling carts across the river, if eels rubbed against his legs he would leap into the air. Who wouldn’t?

Set the scene: Puhoi village has served as a location for The Tommyknockers, Sylvia (the Sylvia Ashton Warner biopic), The Brokenwood Mysteries, Sea Urchins and Bridge to Terabithia.

Best website:

Main employer: Hospitality, tourism and that epic dairy darling The Puhoi Cheese Factory.

Source of pride: The depth of respect for the town’s forebears, origins and heritage is palpable.

Town fiestas: Stop in at the farmers’ market, held on the last Sunday of each month. Or head to town for June 29, when the arrival of the first ships is remembered with a bit of a knees-up.

Here for a short time: Kayak on the river, visit the museum, browse the town and stop for a pint at the pub or a cuppa at Puhoi Cottage Tea Rooms.

Kids love to: Spend the whole day playing by the river, or running around the spacious green grounds of Puhoi Tea Rooms where they’ll find an aviary, a bunny, chickens and a trampoline.

Best park: Puhoi Pioneers Memorial Park has plenty of green space, including sports fields and tennis courts; right by the river there’s even a swing you launch yourself into the river from at high tide.

Best facilities: Over the bridge, you’ll find well-tended bathrooms, a change table and a shower.

Best walk: If you’re after a hefty hike, Puhoi is on the Te Araroa Trail and the Arthur Dunn Bush Track is a 5km beauty. Or simply trot along the loop walk: a 40-minute round trip, it starts with a bit of a climb but you’ll be rewarded with magic views of the countryside and picturesque town.

Best place to pull over: Stop at the Puhoi Pub or The General Store, enjoy a beverage and watch the world go by.

Best swim: Pop along to Wenderholm for beach or estuary dipping, or, when the tide is right, join the local kids who jump off the bridge all summer long.

Best museum: Tended by dedicated volunteers, The Bohemian Museum is a labour of love preserving the pioneer heritage. Learn about the first European settlers who worked hard, prayed hard and kicked up their heels to jaunty folk music. One chap, Benedict Remiger, was just 12 years old when he set off alone, without family or friends, to make Puhoi village his home.

Walk the walk: Take the town’s self-guided heritage walk and admire the darling old buildings. Brochures available at museum.

PuhoiBook it: The tiny Puhoi Library is cute as a button, built in 1913, more than 6000 visitors stop in each year. And there are always books for sale. More than 6000 tourists visit the tiny Puhoi Village Library each year.Library each year.

This bead of light: Visit Inge Chappell at Kleurglass, where she gives lessons and demonstrations in the mesmerising art of bead making. Or visit her gallery in Warkworth to admire the full range of her wares.

Top shop: The General Store is like entering a Tardis, selling more than just regular old groceries, fruit and vegetables, it also stocks a range of delicacies including pastries, cakes, pies, sandwiches, bespoke pasta and coffee. They also serve as the local post office and do oysters and chips for just $10.

Gifts galore: The Trading Post is where you’ll go for Native American crafts, including reindeer pelts. Next door, The French Shed sells French provincial wares. Further along the main drag, poke your nose into The Trove, home to all sorts of arty gems, including a taxidermied winged piglet.

Cream of the coffee: The General Store does a mean brew.

Teatime: The Puhoi Cottage Tearooms offers a menu of more than 30 terrific teas, some of them truly exotic.

Baked: The General Store’s cake and pastry selection is epic, ditto The Puhoi Cottage Tearooms where baked treats are lovingly homemade and include plenty of dairy and gluten-free options. Uncle Larry’s Jamaican-style pies are also tasty.

Holy cheeses: The Puhoi Dairy Company is like a shrine to cheese and it’s also a fabulous eatery – the macaroni cheese is crazily tempting, as are their award-winning ice creams. Plus there’s a playground and plenty of space for letting off cheesy steam.

Best food: The Puhoi Pub provides hearty grub including nachos, burgers, seafood chowder and dandy mussel fritters. The aforementioned Puhoi Cottage Tearooms is also charming for breakfast or lunch; on a rainy day you could make yourself at home there for some time, gazing out at the gardens.

Wet your whistle: Kick back at the Puhoi Pub for as long as you dare and, considering they do accommodation, why not spend the night there too? Comfortable and quirky, the hotel was established in 1879 and is bursting with memorabilia and curiosities, old photos and archaic tools.

Best adventure: Be sure to kayak the river to Wenderholm – or up the other way if you’d rather – Puhoi River Canoes make it all so easy. And, if the tide isn’t in your favour, pop along to Mahurangi Regional Park 15 minutes’ drive away.

Wildlife: Ducks, possums, pukekos, eels and plenty of native birds. The cormorants and herons aren’t bothered by humans and photographers often snap fabulous pictures.

Best kept secret: Ukrainian imports to the area, Alex and Iryna Kirichuk have set up New Zealand’s first organic distillery, where they make medicinal herbal potions for health as well as a range of fine alcohols. Their vodka and gin are both stocked at the pub and are almost guaranteed, within reason, not to give hangovers. And if you don’t believe that, go try for yourself – tasting sessions are unforgettable but be sure to book ahead first. According to Alex Kirichuk, “only dogs eat caviar without vodka”.

The verdict: A Bohemian rhapsody.

Looking for a weekend getaway from Auckland. See if we have availability at the time you’d like to escape.

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orewa bed and breakfast accommodation

Orewa lies on the Hibiscus Coast

Just north of the base of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and is only 40 kilometres north of central Auckland you’ll find Orewa. Famous for its beautiful beach, 3km of golden sand that all kids enjoy, Orewa is perfect for a day trip or a long weekend escape to a comfortable bed and breakfast away from home.

Orewa is a lot less crowded than many other beach-side places this close to Auckland and the beach is clean with great playgrounds and cafes all in safe walking, or bike riding, distance.

Orewa is a great destination if you like swimming, surfing, kayaking, windsurfing and kite surfing. For coastal views, you can’t beat a stroll along the Millennium Walkway. Orewa also has a comprehensive shopping centre and a wide selection of eating places.

A recommended way to pass a very agreeable hour is cycling the Te Ara Tahuna – a 7.5km walkway / cycleway around the Orewa Estuary. The 2.5m-wide path includes 5 bridges and state-of-the-art lighting to create a safe, shared space for pedestrians and cyclists. The route is entirely off-road, although there is a road bridge with footpath on the Hibiscus Coast Highway. There is a short uphill section on the bridge over the Orewa River at the western-most point of the pat and a couple of other gentler slopes, but overall the route is mostly sealed and quite easy to ride.

Orewa has everything you need for a good old-fashioned beach holiday – even if it is just for a weekend. Stay with us at Mahurangi West Wing Bed and Breakfast which is just a quick drive up the road and you’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready to take on your next challenge!

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Bed and Breakfast in Mahurangi for Regatta Anniversary Weekend

The Mahurangi Regatta is held every year on the Saturday of Auckland Anniversary weekend.

The Mahurangi Regatta is part of the world’s largest regatta which is sailed out of Auckland’s Waitematä Harbour on the Monday. Watching the flotilla arrive in the Mahurangi Harbour as a flowing river of red and green navigation lights stretching back to Whangaparäoa Passage on the Friday evening is truly spectacular.

Mahurangi Regatta Anniversary Weekend

Tangutu Point – Mahurangi West Park

We usually  take some chairs, a picnic and a bottle of wine up to Tungutu Point,  which overlooks Sullivan’s Bay and the Regional Park, to watch the boats come in. A really great night!

The harbour brims with yachts on the Saturday and hundreds of smaller boats arrive by road for the afternoon’s racing, which is all within full view of the picnickers in Sullivan Bay. Families come Sullivan’s bay to enjoy the views and the fun shoreside competitions such as the egg and spoon races, swimming races, sand sculptures and tugs of war which are put on by the Mahurangi West Community. The evening sees the prize-giving and dance in the large marquee at Scotts Landing, across the water from us.

As Anniversary Weekend does get very busy at Mahurangi West you need to make sure you book your accommodation at Mahurangi West Wing bed and breakfast well ahead of time!

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