I am in strange black walled Blade Runneresque internet cafe in Auckland – the only non Chinese person here. All the salty snacks are Chinese, all the cold beverages ditto and even blog instructions are in Chinese so I have to use graphic memory to work out how to publish an entry. Surreal.

Am having a super time with all my NZ chums, have even managed to prepare two SSS dishes. The first, Charlie Ruggles’ Tuna Special Salad – was prepared at our fabulous holiday home on Waiheke Island. This was a little appetizer before an evening of extremely heavy drinking and a birthday ceremony to mark my reaching the ripe old age of 40. This involved 5 of my lovely girlfriends perched on rocks in the dark like SIRENS swinging tea light lanterns to the sound of the Bee Gees singing “How Deep is Your Love”. I was then handed a string (turned out to be dental floss) which I had to pull towards me thus propelling a “Huggies” baby wipe container across the swimming pool. The lid was open, another candle inside lighting the way on its journey to the poolside. Inside was a gift of a beautiful greenstone pendant. Only that bunch could have hatched such an elaborate plan. Insane and totally unforgettable. Those crazy kiwis.

The other Hollywood dish I prepared was Skeets Gallagher’s Souffle of Tomatoes which I made for Merle and Rock – my lovely hosts in Glen Innes. It took me an age to prepare in an unfamiliar kitchen with a small pirate running around the place and preparations for a weekend away going on around me. Rock almost opened the oven to check on it but realised just in time that it was a SOUFFLE and we all know what happens to those if you are not careful. Upon completion I worried what it might taste like having never made a souffle in my life before but Merle announced with her usual style, “I’ll chuck it down whatever it’s like”. It was actually rather nice in a sort of fluffy eggy sort of way.

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