Blackbird Goods Soirée | Winter Edition


Arrangement by Kim from Lushka Flowers.


This is one of the things I love most about owning a store, the ability to bring people together and create community. Upon moving to the Hawkes Bay two years ago, I was struck by the clear definitions of the seasons here. Growing up in the far north of Whangarei Heads, where the winters are mild but endlessly wet, it was a welcome change. When the seasons change, there is no blurring or merging into six months of dismal weather, you have the leaves falling and crisp mornings of Autumn, the bright days and blossoms of spring, the hot golden days of summer, and the frosty and beautiful tones of grey in winter ( I swear, they are actually very pretty! ) So upon opening the store, we really wanted to celebrate those seasons in a unique way, with a gathering, some delicious wine ( of course ) and showcase a local talent with a focus on the season. For Summer of last year I made a foraged wreath and we drank sparkling wine, For Autumn the ever talented Ash from Organic Ash made an outstanding cake and showed us how she likes to decorate hers, and we drank a taaaasty drop of Rod McDonald Rosé. So for winter, I didn’t want it to be brushed over. Although winter tends to be the least favourite for most people, I really think there is a lot of beauty in winter. So I enlisted the fantastic Kim from Lushka flowers, who, like I believes that winter has a lot going for it! To pair with the season we made a spicy batch of syrah mulled wine with the help of our friends over at Rod McDonald Wines . Here is the ( a slight adaption from a Jamie Oliver ) recipe!

  • The juice of 2 mandarins/clementines
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg , for grating
  • 1 vanilla pod , halved lengthways
  • 2 bottles Rod McDonald Quarter Acre Syrah


This makes enough for around 15 people. Peel large sections of peel from your lemon and lime using a peeler, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the mandarin/clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover.

Let this simmer and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes. It’s important to make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.

When it’s almost a syrup, turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.


Winter warmth in a glass!

MAKE IT | Summer pickled vegetables

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With summer still hanging about ( although as I write this I see it slowly disappearing into a dark ominous cloud ) I am hanging on tight with these simple, delicious pickled veggies.

Side note : They taste amazing, but smell kind of awful.

Seasonal veg, I chose radish, cucumber and carrots
1 cup vinegar (apple cider, rice wine, champagne, red wine)
1/2 cup cold water
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 clove garlic, sliced

Thinly slice the veggies and place them in a jar. In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, cold water, sea salt, and the garlic. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat.

Pour the vinegar mix into the jar. Place the lid on the jar. Allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 10 days.

Yum! What is your favourite veggie to pickle?

Until next time,BlackbirdBLOG signature

MAKE IT // Sunday Muesli

I’ve always been partial to a good muesli, and often tend to make my own over the store bought variety. You see, I like what I like. So this way it’s win win for my morning repast.


3 cups of whole oats
1/2 chopped raw almonds
A handful of dried peaches
1/2  cup of shredded coconut

1/2 cup chica seeds
2-3 Tablespoons of honey
Whatever else you like

Preheat your oven to 180 C.  Spread out your oats on a large baking tray. Heat your honey in a saucepan until runny. Pour over the oats and quickily mix through evenly. Put into the oven and roast for around 20 minutes,  tossing every ten minutes or so until lightly browned. Add your almonds, peaches, coconut and chica seeds. Give it a good old mix. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Done.

Serve with some yoghurt, a few blueberries and a little honey.


Until next time.

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MAKE IT // Lentil Shepard Pie

This is my go to meal. When I am tired and really cannot be bothered. So, basically we eat this a lot.

And this dismal day in Auckland, ( I am not going to lie, I am puuuumped on this weather, see you later swollen feet. )  It is perfect. It is quick, it is easy, it is delish, and the best comfort food.  You will need:

1 can lentils in brine
1 leek, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 1/2 cup peas
6 button mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

4 potatoes
Salt and pepper
Cheese, grated

First off get your potatoes on to boil. Peel them, dice them, chuck them in the pot of water with a little salt. Boil until soft. Meanwhile, cut all your veg for the filling. In a large pot, melt a knob or so of butter, toss in the leek and saute. Next the carrots. Keep stirring, on a medium heat. Add mushrooms then finally peas and lentils, including the brine. Turn to low, chuck on the lid and let simmer, stirring occasionally. When your potatoes are soft, drain them. Chuck a knob of butter, a tablespoon of milk and mash. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now sift in a teaspoon of cornflour at a time till you get a thick sause. Add the thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Empty the filling into a deep dish, dollop the topping on top, even it out and criss-cross with a fork, sprinkle a little cheese on top if you want. Grill/Broil until golden! Delish!


Until next time

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