Easy Afghan Biscuits, My Flora Addiction and 200 Seal Pups

We have been traveling around New Zealand for a month now and with our budget diminishing and the up-coming Inca Trail, we have spent a lot of time walking up and down mountains. Which has led me to a not-so-mild obsession of drawing flora. My worry with flowers and cakes is, that they can become ‘fluffy’ – sickly sweet looking and way too pretty. It’s dodgy territory which I need to keep a close eye on! But, inspired by the rainforest hikes, alpine summits and the springlike weather that New Zealand has in August, (it’s glorious!) my sketchbook filled with doodles of ferns, moss and tiny blossoms. Blossoms that can only survive in hardy conditions, like a heather; where even in snow and wind it can still produce a buds of colour.

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Then, as if in complete rebellion, yesterday I came across a magnificent display of multicoloured poppies in Nelson city. Possibly one of the most fragile looking flowers ever. And now I can’t stop drawing them either. So I thought I would blog a few sketches which I am excited to incorporate into my cakes when I get home: in 55 days and 3 countries time.

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As well as incredible views of snow caped mountains, red woods, mirrored lakes and the ocean, we have also come across lots of seals! In Kaikoura (south island) I went to a little waterfall where the baby seal pups go until they reach abut 9 months old. Here they are safe from predators, learn social skills and become pretty nifty at walking (waddling) on rocks. They are incredibly curious fellas and kept poking their noses on my legs when I tried to pose for this picture. It was a very emotional experience to see them so safe and wild – for once a happy story about animals surviving and the numbers actually growing. There are at least 200 pups that play here.

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‘Easy As’ Afghan Biscuit Recipe

Now for some kiwi baking! We found these on display in lots of cafes, a true regional treat. They are fabulously chocolatey and the corn flakes add a bit of crunch, so you gotta try them. Also, I reckon they would keep quite well for about a week in an airtight jar, which is always handy for when you have surprise guests for tea. Something that I really miss whilst I’ve been travelling. Don’t leave out the walnut by the way, it’s crucial and works so well with the chocolate, also, it looks really cool sat on top.

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Ingredients:
200g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups cornflakes
Chocolate icing, recipe follows
1/2 cup walnut halves, to decorate

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

2. Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Sift flour and cocoa powder over creamed mixture and stir to combine. Lastly, stir in cornflakes.

3. Place tablespoonfuls of mixture on prepared baking trays. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

4. Ice the cold biscuits with chocolate icing and decorate with a walnut half.
You can see more recipes like this on here: http://www.nzwomansweekly.co.nz/food/recipes

Last note of the day:
On thursday we are in Fiji and I hear that guinea pig should be on the menu. Fun! I will report back.

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2 thoughts on “Easy Afghan Biscuits, My Flora Addiction and 200 Seal Pups

  1. When you said “kiwi” baking, I immediately thought you were baking with kiwi fruits. Durrrr. These look lovely though!

    • Haha, no kiwi fruits here I’m afraid Aly! They are very tasty nonetheless, perfect for some post wedding anniversary baking? Any excuse really! I hope your Madeline tin is getting suitably abused xx

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