Northland Road Trip Day 6 (Part 1): Kerikeri Mission and Stone Store

Northland Road Trip Day 6 (Part 1): Kerikeri Mission and Stone Store

Visiting the Kerikeri Mission house and Stone Store was one of the highlights of our Northland and Bay of Islands road-trip.
I love historical buildings and artifacts and especially love to hear the stories of people who lived and worked in these historic buildings.
SONY DSCWe first visited the Mission Station in the evening of Day 5, when everything was closed.  There is plenty to look at around the buildings with their picture perfect location next to the river.IMG_5782IMG_5859The morning of Day 6 before heading to Russell we decided to pop back to have a quick look inside the Stone Store and we were so glad we did.
I didn’t know there was a museum upstairs in the Stone Store until I overheard others asking about it (cost of $8 per adult, kids under 18 free) then I heard talk of a tour of Kemp House (only $10 per adult, kids under 18 free and it includes access to the Stone Store museum!) so I immediately booked in for the next tour.IMG_5835Our tour guide was excellent.  She was so knowledgeable and shared a great deal of interesting facts and information about the history of the site, relationship between the local Maori and Missionaries and details about how they lived their lives.   IMG_5834IMG_4996IMG_5858IMG_5836IMG_5837Our children found the tour informative and the guide did a great job engaging the kids and letting them try writing on slates which they really enjoyed.  We were able to go upstairs in Kemp House and view all the different rooms.  The kids had fun imagining how a family with 15 children fitted in to the place!IMG_4997IMG_5845IMG_5850IMG_5856IMG_5857IMG_5005IMG_1736IMG_1735IMG_1734

After the tour of Kemp House we were free to explore the museum on the 2nd and attic floors of the Stone Store.

IMG_1740Walking in to the Stone Store was almost like going back in time.  The staff wear period costumes and the store sells a huge variety of authentic frontier goods just as it would have many years ago.  You feel like you’re looking at museum displays but most of it is really cool early pioneer type items for sale!  IMG_5815IMG_5817IMG_5819IMG_5820IMG_5821IMG_5826IMG_4992IMG_4991IMG_5827IMG_5828IMG_5863IMG_5865IMG_5868IMG_5872IMG_5873IMG_E5871I’m so glad we went back.  The tour of Kemp House and entry to the Stone Store Museum was well worth the very low cost.
I’m already dreaming about a future holiday in Kerikeri and going back to spend a whole day at the old Mission Station.



10 free things to do with kids in Christchurch

  1. Botanic Gardens
    Located in Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens have plenty to keep kids occupied.  Walk, scooter or bike around the perimeter of the park, walk through and picnic in the gardens, play on the playground and in summer splash in the paddling pools.
  2. Canterbury Museum
    Located on the edge of the Botanic Gardens, the Museum is housed in a beautiful stone building dating from 1870.  The museum has natural history and human collections on display as well as a programme of changing exhibits and events.  There is a cafe upstairs as well as further exhibits so do explore all levels.
  3. Margaret Mahy Playground
    This playground has proved to be a big hit in Christchurch.  Kids of all ages will enjoy exploring the playground and water play area. There are picnic tables in the shade next to the river where you can spot eels and fish!
  4. Sumner Beach
    Kids will love the cave under Cave Rock and the little pools created around the rocks when it’s low tide.  Walk along the wide promenade to Scarborough Park at the cliff end where there is a playgound with a paddling pool and toilets.
  5. Riccarton Bush
    Putaringamotu is the sole remnant of ancient native forest on the Canterbury plains.  The Kahikatea trees here are up to 600 years old.  The loop track in Riccarton Bush only takes 10-15 minutes to complete and there is the historic Dean’s cottage and Riccarton House to look at as well as the river with ducks and plenty of grass area to picnic and play on.
  6. Wigram Airforce Museum
    Discover New Zealand’s military aviation history at the Wigram Air Force Museum.
    Kids will enjoy the exhibits and interactive displays.
  7. New Brighton Pier
    Take a walk down the New Brighton Pier, watch surfers and people fishing then wander along the beach below the big pillars.  The new playground is great with splash and paddling pools, a water play area and playgrounds.
  8. Bicycle riding
    Bottle Lake Forest or Macleans Island offer gentle mountain biking trails or for little ones Westburn Bike Park offers hour of fun on bikes or scooters with it’s mini road layouts and Kendal School Bike Track is great for kids to develop their cycling skills.  Many parks have skateboard and bmx tracks.
  9. Christchurch city libaries
    Check out the Christchurch city libraries website to see what is on offer at your local library. You might be surprised at the different classes offered.
  10. Find a park
    Christchurch has so many great parks.  Pack a picnic and a soccer ball and head out to discover some new parks and playgrounds.

Meat Croquettes aka Meat Cutlets Indian Style: Step by Step Tutorial

Meat Croquettes aka Meat Cutlets Indian Style: Step by Step Tutorial

DSC_0987This is a season of parties. Christmas party, Year End party, New Year party, BBQ party and one dish that will be a hit as a party appetiser, I promise, is the Meat Croquettes (or Meat Cutlets).DSC_0991

Although these are called Croquettes here and the rest of the world, growing up in South India, we have only known these as cutlets. They make a great tea time snack and my early memory of having these croquettes was at a beach. Cool sea breeze, soft swash of the waves and the scent of the sea in the air, chomping away on hot cutlets, playing catch and digging our feet into the grainy sand vividly stands out in my memory. Food always takes me down memory lane.

My kids love these meat croquettes. I make them in a batches and freeze them to use when they ask for it. The meat croquettes are easy like that. It can be made ahead, frozen and fried just before the party. Its just so crunchy to bite into, so lip smacking good, that they will disappear in no time! Ask my family and they will tell you. These are a huge hit every time I’ve made them!!

I had been making  meat croquettes a different way for  a long time. Then, by chance I happened to make croquettes with meat left over from Mutton curry I had made earlier…. and  everything changed!!
I really liked the texture of the meat I got as a result and haven’t gone back to the old one.
I have made this on several occasions . For parties, picnics, travel, camping. I serve it as a snack or as a side dish. I also use it as a burger and make sandwiches too.




500 gms Lean Meat ( we get stew meat here, which is very handy)
3 medium potatoes
1 large onion (chopped finely)

2 green chillies ( chopped finely)
1” piece ginger (chopped finely)
a little coriander leaves (optional)

 To Marinate:
1tbsp ginger garlic paste
1tsp pepper*
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder*
1 tsp chilli powder (mild)*
1 tsp Garam Masala powder (you can buy Garam Masala from the Indian store to save time. I prefer Eastern Royal Garam Masala)
2 eggs
Curry leaves, a few (optional)


1 1/2 -2 cups bread crumbs
Oil to shallow fry, saute

Salt and Pepper to taste.


Marinate the meat with the chilli powder, coriander powder, ginger garlic paste, salt and pepper, keep aside for half an hour.

**Then pressure cook for 20 mins with no water or very little water.
When done and cooled put it in a mixie (food processor) and pulse it , coarsely DSC_0942This is the texture you are going for.DSC_0945.jpgBoil the potatoes, remove the skin and mash it well with a potato masher.DSC_0943Beat the eggs lightly , mix with salt and pepper to taste and keep asideDSC_0967

Mix the meat and mashed potato well together.Keep aside.DSC_0951.jpg

Pour oil in a skillet and saute the finely chopped onion, when they turn limp add the finely chopped ginger and chopped chilli.DSC_0956Saute for a couple more minutes till the onions turn pink. Switch off stove. Allow to cool for a few minutes.DSC_0957.jpgMix the sauteed onion mixture with the mashed potato meat mixture.DSC_0958Roll into balls.DSC_0965Flatten them to your desired shapeDSC_0971.jpgDip in the Egg mixtureDSC_0978Roll out in bread crumbsDSC_0974Deep fry in  oil. When they turn golden brown, drain and remove on to paper towels.

DSC_0982Serve HotDSC_0989.jpg

Cook Book Scribbles :

  • Make sure the meat/ potato mixture is dry and not too loose.
  • The Oil needs to be almost smoking  hot  to prevent the croquettes from breaking
  • Also make sure the oil covers the croquettes completely, again to prevent the cutlets from breaking.
  • If you want to make it Gluten Free, you can dip the croquettes only in the egg mixture, skip dipping in the bread crumbs. You will not have a crispy outer cover but the taste does not differ much. OR use Gluten Free Bread Crumbs.
  • I use the term Meat Croquette because you can either use beef , mutton, or chicken
  • *The spice levels with the chilli powder, coriander powder and the pepper powder can be reduced to half  (or increased) according to taste
  • ** If you do not have a pressure cooker, use a thick bottomed pan, keep the heat on medium to medium high. Close and let it cook without adding any water for 20- 25 mins. The Meat will cook in its own juices.
  • The croquettes freeze really well,so you can make a big batch  of the bread crumb coated croquettes , days before a party or dinner or just so you have them handy for hungry kids and fry them straight out of the fridge without thawing…. in that case, take care not to burn the croquettes.

Raw Kale Salad | Recipe

Raw Kale Salad | Recipe

This Kale Salad is so delicious.  My Dad brought the recipe back from friends in Canada and I have tweaked the recipe to make it my own.

If you haven’t tried Kale before, or if you’ve tried Kale but haven’t enjoyed it, I would urge you to give this recipe a try.

The Kale leaves go from being tough and fibrous, to tender and delicious once the olive oil is added. In fact this Salad is better made the day before to allow the flavours to develop and the Kale to soften beautifully. I like to make this Kale Salad the night before, usually late in the evening as the house begins to quieten down but it can be made in the morning or even just several hours before serving. Since we discovered how yummy the leftovers are the day after, I’ve been making this salad the day before.

Remove the leaves from the tough fibrous stems.  Discard the stems.

Chop the leaves in slices.  I like to slice them about 5mm-10mm wide.  It does not need to be finely shredded.

Pour the olive oil over the sliced Kale.  The amount of olive oil you need with depend on the type of Kale used.

Gently mix until all the leaves are coated with all and look shiny and glossy.  If you need to add more oil go ahead.  The leave should be fully coated but there should not be oil pooling at the bottom of the bowl.  Squeeze the lemon over the leaves and mix again.  There is no need to massage the Kale to soften it as it will begin to soften on it’s own.


In a food processor place the parmesan cheese, roasted almonds, lemon rind, garlic cloves and salt.


Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs (or see recipe below for Thermomix instructions).


Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the salad and toss gently to combine.  Place olives over the salad.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

I love leftovers for lunch so usually make extra salad to ensure we have lunches sorted for a few days.  It’s delicious served with grilled cajun chicken or any grilled meat.


1 large bunch of Kale
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 whole lemon
4 cloves garlic
100g Parmesan cheese
100g roasted almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives


Wash Kale and remove the fibrous stems.

Slice the leaves. I slice mine about 5-10mm wide. You don’t want to slice too finely, it should look rustic.

In a food processor (I use a Thermomix) place the Parmesan cheese (chopped in 1.5cm chunks), the roasted almonds, the 4 cloves of garlic (adjust to taste, sometimes I use more garlic), the lemon zest (I simply peel the rind using a peeler) and the salt.

Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.

In the Thermomix I mill for 5 seconds on speed 9, give the bowl a good shake around and then mill for a further 2 seconds on speed 9.

Pour olive oil over the sliced Kale. Gently toss the Kale until each slice is coated with oil. You may need to add more olive oil, it depends on how large your bunch of Kale is. You want the leaves to be coated with oil so they become shiny and glossy. There should not be any oil pooling in the bottom of the bowl.

Squeeze over the lemon juice and mix gently.

Sprinkle the processed mixture over the Kale and gently mix until the Kale is coated.

Place olives over the salad.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  This salad will keep in the fridge for several days.

Nut free: to make this salad nut free simply replace the almonds with toasted breadcrumbs. The original recipe uses toasted breadcrumbs but I swapped these out in favour of toasted almonds to make the recipe gluten free and low carb.
In the nut free version I would simply sprinkle 1/2 cup – 1 cup of toasted almonds over the salad along with grated parmesan, salt, lemon zest and crushed garlic.  Toss gently to combine.  The breadcrumbs will sort of melt into the olive oil.

Especially delicious served with grilled meats and other salads, this Kale Salad is the perfect dish to serve at a BBQ or any shared meal over summer.

I usually buy curly Kale but I couldn’t find any at my local supermarket so we harvested our own Kale which is Russian Red Kale, a variety I haven’t grown or eaten before! It was much softer than the curly Kale.

Baby Kale leaves can also be used, just strip the leaves from the stems and slice or tear into small pieces.