Watch this episode of NZ House & Garden on TVNZ ondemand.
A Villa in Tuscany
Tuscany - the landscape, stone farmhouses, wine, food, olives and art. New Zealander Kirsten Lockie has it all.
When she left home 20 years ago - fresh out of art school she
had no sense of what the future might hold - or that she might
still be here in 2006 - raising her own family, tending her olive
grove in the heart of Tuscany, enjoying a new passion for hot air
ballooning and pursuing the printmaking that drew her to Florence
all those years ago.
While Kirsten loves her life and her family in Italy - she also feels a very strong connection with New Zealand. She is only sorry that the two countries are so far apart and travel between is expensive - especially for the whole family.
Kirsten explains "Our house "Il Poggio" is a typical Tuscan farm house made from field stones, wooden beams, terra-cotta floors and tiled roof. It sits at the end of steep dirt road on top of a small hill just out of Florence surrounded my olive groves and enchanting vistasI"
Kirsten and Pascal's house is made from stones from the surrounding fields bound by natural course lime cement. This is typical of construction in the area. The stones are rounded because at one stage the whole area was alluvial.
For Information on Tuscan Balloon trips: http://www.flyballoon.it
Saffron - The Spice
The word saffron comes from the Arabic word Zahafarn which means yellow thread. Saffron is the most prized and most expensive spice in the world and here's why; The Saffron filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the purple saffron flower, "Crocus Sativus Linneaus". Each flower contains only three stigmas. These threads must be picked from each flower by hand, and more than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just 500gms of Saffron filaments, making it the world's most precious spice. The upside is that, because of saffron's strong colouring power and intense flavour, it can be used sparingly.
About "Heart of the Desert"
Maurice and Megan bought their one acre property on an old gold miner's terrace in Bannockburn around 5 years ago. They were keen to grow something that might help subsidise their children's education - naturally it needed to be fairly low impact in terms of space required and Megan's brother who runs the Horticulture unit at Otago suggested saffron. At the time there were one or two people dabbling in it but no one was producing on a commercial scale. Maurice and Megan did some research and discovered the local environment would lend itself pretty well to saffron.
"Heart of the Desert" Saffron,
About "Saffron Restaurant"
Arrowtown's "Saffron" restaurant, owned and operated by ex pat Australian Peter Gawron and his partner Melanie Hill, is not only a huge hit in picturesque Central Otago - it was recently listed by Conde Nast magazine in its top 100, of the world's most exciting restaurants. The accolade is richly deserved - the food, at Saffron is outstanding. A committed forager, Peter makes the most of the wild bounty of the region and as the name of his restaurant suggests, he is a huge fan of the king of spices and uses it liberally.
Since arriving back in the early nineties Peter and Melanie have fully immersed themselves in the Central Otago way of life, including purchasing a certified stone miners cottage which they're in the middle of renovating. They've also played a pivotal role in getting Arrowtown taken seriously with foodies. As well as Saffron they own the more casual pizza and pasta restaurant Pesto and the Blue Door bar which is located across the alley from Saffron in an excavated storage cellar.
18 Buckingham Street
Tel: 03 442 0131
Peter Gawron Recipes
Peter Gawron has generously shared his recipes for NZ House & Garden viewers.
Scampi, from Stewart Island, grilled with Coconut, Coriander & Palm Sugar, dressing.
4 cups Jasmine Rice
10 Black peppercorns
1 cup chopped coriander.
3 Coriander Roots.
1 small piece Lemon Grass Root.
Half Red Chili
2 cloves garlic.
1 round palm sugar.
1 Tablespoon fish sauce.
1 cup thick coconut cream.
Half cup Coconut Milk.
Hijiki for Garnish.
1. Slice the Lemon Grass Root, Chili and chop the
Coriander & garlic add peppercorns.
2. Pound mixture to a fine paste in a Pestle & Mortar.
3. Add palm sugar then coconut and fish sauce to taste.
4. Thin to a sauce consistency with Coconut milk.
5. Butterfly cut the scampi and grill until just cooked.
6. Garnish the plate with Hijiki.
7. Arrange the Scampi on plate around rice.
8. Spoon sauce on top.
Quince Tart Tartin
2 x Quinces (peeled, cored and quartered)
2 x Cups sugar syrup: (1 cup sugar; 1 cup boiling water)
2 x Star anise
1 x Quill cinnamon
1. Poach the quinces in the sugar syrup.
2. Add the star anises and cinnamon and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the quinces are soft and red.
3. Lightly oil a shallow, heat-proof bowl and lay the fruit down in a concentric ring.
4. Loosen up the kataifa pastry and cover the top of the mould to about 1 - 1 1/2 cm in thickness.
5. Bake at 190C for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp.2
6. Remove from the oven and rest a moment.
7. Invert and serve with saffron ice cream
Kataifa is a type of filo pastry, Greek in origin. It is
shredded so that it resembles vermicelli. It must always be
drawn out of the package and kneaded alittle to make it
supple and workable.
2 When the quinces are cooking in the syrup, the syrup will reduce down to a honey-like glaze. Any more and the fruit could burn, and if the syrup isn't reduced enough the fruit won't have the necessary shine.
Clipped to Perfection
Seven acres of garden and not a flower in sight might seem
improbable - but this is exactly what Melanie Greenwood has created
in her formal garden on a grand scale in rural Wairarapa
Thirteen years ago Melanie and her husband John bought a piece of land in rural Wairarapa so Melanie could pursue her dream of creating a formal topiary garden.
Melanie has always worked with three dimensional objects. Her early career as a ceramic artist has given her an understanding of form and design. Combine this with a lifelong love of order and symmetry and you have the key ingredients for the making of a ten acre topiary garden in a league of its own.
While people often say they're intimidated by using bold colours
in a room - vibrant reds, blues or greens - even more intimidating
can be the absence of colour - the white room.
How you use colour is all about how you want your room to work, and reflect your personality. And the way you use texture is just as important - even paint can add texture.
The fabulous Kathleen Haimes of Uno Design, created our white room. You can get in touch with Kathleen for interior design work at:
Roll-arm sofa, 'Pod' and 'Lola' chairs, curtains and rug
(details as above)
Sofa covered in:
Warwick Fabrics 'Aladdin Snow'
'Pod' chair covered in:
Florence Broadhurst 'Colourbar White'
Philippe Starck 'Ghost' chair
Living room walls, ceiling and floor painted
Available from Colour Plus stores nationwide
Tel: 0800 761 333 for further stockists
Jeremy Cole 'Aloe' light supplied by:
39 Nugent Street
Bathroom graphically painted in:
Textured wall painted in the following
Pink white: Resene 'Spring Wood'
Cream white: Resene 'Half Blanc'
Yellow white: Resene 'Quarter Popcorn'
Black white: Resene 'Black White'
'Seafoam' colour scheme:
Walls and floor:
Roll-arm sofa in:
Warwick Fabrics 'Aladdin Sky'
Mauve colour scheme:
Walls and floor:
Dulux 'Aneline Mauve'
Roll-arm sofa in:
Warwick Fabrics 'Aladdin Lavender'