Five Easter feast ideas

It’s always seemed strange to me, to use lots of pastel colours with baby chicks and bunnies at Easter, because for us it is a turning point in our year, when weather gets cooler and we know we’re in for the long haul of winter.

Here’s a few ideas to celebrate Easter minus the pastel. Let’s usher in the cosiness of Winter with a delicious feast.

1) Hygge feast!

Easter is in the middle of our daylight savings’ transition – so it’s time to remind ourselves that the cold dark to come can be good. It’s time for soup, candles, hot chocolate and all the cosiness that is the Danish word hygge.

CoverHave a look at this eBook Scandinavian Comfort Food, download the Libby by Overdrive app on to your device, log in with your library card details and you can read this without even stepping outside your house!

2) Mezze feast

CoverGrab some lamb, flatbreads and hummus to have an ancient traditional Easter feast. This works really well if you’re doing a feast with friends or whānau as it’s easy for people to bring something to contribute. (Flatbread, nuts, hummus, olives, wine… all easy stuff to pick up on the way to an event)

Yotam Ottolenghi is the authority on the mezze / Jewish inspired feast. Once you’ve had a read of his famous book Jerusalem, you’ll be wanting to make hummus galore and stuff every vegetable.

CoverTry also: Snackistan

3) Easter Fiesta

CoverTacos! Nachos! Avocados! You can’t go wrong with a bit of Mexican food. It’s also great because people can add bits of whatever they like to their plate, that hot sauce doesn’t have to be for everyone – but man, it can warm you up!

CoverLooking for Mariachi vibe music to go with your food? Check out Border crossings via Smithsonian Global Sound one of our music eResources. Just log in with your library card details and stream music for free!

4) Chocolate!

CoverEaster and chocolate go hand-in-hand. Want more chocolate than just a multitude of Easter eggs? Try Indulgent Cakes for some amazing cakes:

Also, for some cosy vintage feels, try streaming Duke Ellington via Access Video (another sweet eResource) – log in with your library card details to view. Look for the song ‘Hot Chocolate’ to help you get in the literal swing of Easter.

5) Eggs

CoverGo classic Easter and have an egg feast! Decorate some eggs, have an egg hunt, eat chocolate eggs or even simple scrambled or fried eggs on toast would be easy and on theme. Egg is a great book for egg recipes:

CoverAnd for a great egg book to read your kiddies, try Scrambled Eggs Super!

The Sunday Night Book is just all-round fabulous, but happens to have some great egg recipes in it too.

Happy Easter and happy eating!

eMagazines for your weekend – RBDigital Magazines

Here is a baker’s dozen of titles hot off the press from RBDigital Magazines. Perfect for a spot of weekend reading – on your laptop, desktop, phone, tablet …:

Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover Cover


  1. Apple Magazine
  2. Vanity Fair
  3. Big League
  4. Evo
  5. Bon Appetit
  6. British Vogue
  7. New Zealand Listener
  8. Woman’s Day
  9. North and South
  10. Q
  11. Hello!
  12. Grazia
  13. Philosophy now

Canterbury Japan Day 2018

Canterbury Japan Day is an annual event organised by The Japanese Society of Canterbury with the aim of sharing authentic Japanese culture with Cantabrians. In 2018 it will take place from 9.30am to 4.30pm on Sunday 4 March at Riccarton Park, 165 Racecourse Road.

The theme this year is the Japanese Summer. The venue will be filled with decorations relating to Tanabata – The Summer Star Festival. There will be stalls, indoor events, an anime cosplay cafe and outdoor events.

]image_proxyimage_proxy (2)image_proxy (3)

The history of Canterbury Japan Day

The inaugural Canterbury Japan Day was held on 11 March 2012 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Japanese Society of Canterbury and the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Japan. It also marked the anniversary of the 2011 East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Canterbury Japan Day
Canterbury Japan Day, Flickr CCL-2012-03-11-CanterburyJapanDay-March-2012 DSC_0569.JPG



10 Reasons to Love Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson, she’s the “Queen of frozen peas,” creator of the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame and ambassador for food pleasure… And I got to meet her on Thursday night at the Isaac Theatre Royal, courtesy of WORD Christchurch and her publishers Penguin Random House.

To say I was thrilled is an understatement. It’d be more accurate to say I just about pooped my pants with excitement. But a lady sitting next to me had never read any of her books. And I saw someone online saying they felt it would be a waste of time to go see her.

How could this be? She’s fantastic! With me or not, here’s 10 reasons for you to love Nigella Lawson:

  • She is an inspiration to women all over the world. When asked what she thought about people always commenting on her “flaunting her tiny waist,” curves or weight; she responded: “When you get older you can ignore an awful lot, I find, it’s one of the great things… I don’t tend to care about what people think anymore.” *stands up clapping*
  • She’s honest about her motivations: “Because I’m greedy, I’m always thinking about what I’m going to cook.”
  • “People are more practiced at persecuting themselves than pursuing pleasure.” – her motto is to enjoy what you’re eating, even if it’s a slice of decadent chocolate cake.
  • Her advice for weeknight cooking: “My grandmother always had a schedule of food for the week… Give yourself a timetable” She explained how that not only limited stress, but would help with your food budget – and you can create strategies to use leftovers.
  • She loves reading: “There’s a wonderful life long companionship from reading” When I asked what her 3 book recommendations were she responded: “David Copperfield, by Mr Dickens. The Sugar Club Cookbook, by Peter Gordon, and Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford.”

  • She’s a model mindful cook. “I love the sound that food makes… and get great pleasure from that” She’s not a fan of listening to music while cooking, “I’m very happy having the music of the food itself.” That’s mindfulness.
  • She isn’t a fan of restrictive diets, however she is understanding when it comes to food intolerances and allergies. She wants to make people comfortable when they enter her home. “I find it quite helpful when anyone doesn’t eat different things, it’s like painting with a different palate.” But don’t ask her why she doesn’t make sugar free cakes.  “If you want sugar free… just don’t have a cake!”
  • She’s all about nourishing yourself emotionally and physically.

 “I take great pleasure from a bowl of greens”

  • Hey Mums of picky eaters! Nigella was a picky eater as a kid too – there is hope! “I didn’t willingly eat anything at dinner till about 14… I loved spinach and hot chocolate.” Rest easy Mums, you may be nurturing the next Nigella.
  • She’s published 11 cookbooks, all of which make for great reading. Sometimes the “words” part of cookbooks can be boring, about gathering this and that fancy ingredient or implement – but her cookbooks read more like a comforting novel, all about the joys of food.

Check the list below to see what is available in our libraries.

Nigella Lawson

Books, eBooks and DVDs.

View Full List

Read more about Nigella in Aotearoa

Christmas eMagazines on RBDigital 2017

Get your Christmas inspiration online with eMagazines. Check out the titles on RBDigital.

Cover imageCover imageCover imageCover imageCover imageCover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover imageCover imageCover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover imageCover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover image Cover imageCover imageCover image Cover image

The joy of Christmas food

Christmas to me means many things. Food, classical music, family and friends, frantic gift shopping and many consecutive days off work.

Food commands a great deal of consideration on Christmas day. It brings people together and will become a part of your Christmas memories. In years to come you may still be reminiscing over mother’s legendary Christmas turkey come December. Whether a BBQ at the beach, a big family dinner at home or a picnic in the gardens, the nostalgic properties of food are seldom more potent than at Christmastime.

Christmas Dinner 1962. Image from Flickr. File Reference: HWC08-UR-027.

When I was younger Christmas meant scoffing the chocolate from our Christmas stockings by noon. A mid-afternoon smorgasbord of breads, crackers and brie with dips, and finally moving on to whatever fattening banquet my mother had concocted for dinner. Common items included macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, potatoes in various forms, bacon and egg pie, salads piled high with eggs and leafy greens… sparkling grape juice for the children. Everyone was there.

This year, my siblings and I have grown up and we have our own Christmas plans. I’ll spend my first Christmas with my soon to be in-laws. I’ll bring a huge dish of macaroni and cheese and a more grown-up form of sparkling grape juice. They key elements will be there: family, good food and this time, I’ll be helping out in the kitchen. The men can clean up though.

The library has plenty of new and old Christmas Cooking titles to explore:

Cover of Cute Christmas cookiescover of Christmas: The complete collectionCover of Nigella ChristmasCover of Christmas cooking

You can flick through the digital Christmas issue of your favourite magazine through RBDigital Magazines or PressReader. Good ones to look out for include:

Cover of Recipes+Cover of FoodCover of good foodCover of Super food ideas

There are also lots of Christmas events happening this month at libraries around Christchurch.

And finally, I couldn’t help but include some cute photos of Archie in his Christmas best.

Archie the Reindeer
Santa’s Little Helper

What dish do you just have to make every year come Christmas?

Korean Day 한국의 날 – Saturday 2 December

K is for all about Korea

Do you like kimchi? How much do you know about Korea and your Korean neighbours? It’s time to meet and experience Korean culture!

Korean Day 한국의 날
When – Saturday 2 December 2017, 11am to 3pm,
Where – Cathedral Square

The Korean Society in Christchurch will be hosting Korean Day 2017. This event showcases traditional and modern Korean culture. There will be a variety of Korean foods stalls, as well as Korean traditional floor activities going on during performances. The main performers will be coming from Korea – the international Youth Arts Troupe. They will show us not only traditional performance but also the fantastic art of B-boying. There are also going to be plenty of other events offered to fill you up and provide a breathtaking cultural experience.

Enjoy a variety of Korean dishes and floor activities! Bring your family and friends.

Korean Day Gala Show – part of Korean Day
When – Sunday 7pm 3rd December, 2017
Where – North city Church

If you want to know more information please contact the Christchurch Korean Society.

Korean items in our collection

You can find books in Korean at:

Mango Languages – Mango is an online language learning system that can help you learn a variety of selected languages. It also contains instructions on how to learn English if Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian or Spanish is your first language.

OverDrive – Free downloadable eBook and eAudiobook collection.OverDrive includes a number of eBooks in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Tagalog.

PressReader – gives you same-day access to more than 2,000 newspapers and over 500 magazines from around the world. Each newspaper and magazine displays as a full page in traditional format and layout, and includes complete editorial content, graphics and advertising. Over 60 languages are represented.

Information for new settlers in Korean.

New residents brochure in Korean

Review: Recipes From My Mother

When I moved into a flat of my own, one of the first things I did was call Mum to ask how to make carrot coins (aka honey glazed carrots) and call Dad to ask him how to make yellow rice (aka turmeric rice). Those were two of my absolute favourite things to eat when I was a kid, and I love making them to this day. There is nothing quite like the comfort and nostalgia of cooking things “just like Mum used to make.” So when I saw Rachel Allen‘s Recipes From My Mother: Delicious recipes filled with memories I was sure it would be just my kind of cookbook.

Cover of Recipes from my mother

And I was right!

It is a beautiful book, full of family photographs, memories of mouth-watering  meals cooked by loving mums and grandmas, and, of course, a multitude of delicious-sounding recipes that I just couldn’t wait to try.

There are simple ones, like “Scrambled eggs back in the shell,” and “Sweet eggy bread” (which is a souped-up version of french toast). Classic ones, like “Kedgeree” and “Apricot and cardamom bread and butter pudding.” Fancy ones, like “Amma’s icelandic kleiner” a sort of knotted doughnut, and “Lemon meringue pie.”

I find it fascinating that although Rachel Allen grew up in Ireland with her Icelandic mother and Irish father, many of the dishes she remembers loving as a child sound so familiar to me though I grew up here in New Zealand, with my Scottish mother and English father.  The first thing I learned to cook was semolina, back when I was small enough to need a chair to stand at the stove. Mum created a recipe for me that included beautiful pictures for instructions, because I struggled to read till long after I was a dab hand at making semolina. And what do you know, Semolina is the dish Rachel remembers most from when she was very young.

Still now I find a bowlful of this rib-sticking pudding the most comforting food of all.

You and me, both, Rachel! Her recipe includes a instructions for making raspberry jam to dollop on the top. I wasn’t making jam with mine as a little girl, but it does sound lovely!

The “Beetroot and hazelnut slaw” reminds me of the delicious beetroot salad my foster mum used to make; while “Baked creamy vanilla rice pudding” reminds me of the tasty meals I enjoyed while boarding in my first year of University.  Although I’ve never liked cauliflower cheese, Rachel’s description of the memories it invokes makes me wish I did!

For me, cauliflower cheese is serious comfort food. It comes with a shed-load of nostalgia, too, as I think of the round terracotta dish it was always cooked in at home. It would come out the Aga golden and bubbling.

Doesn’t that sound delish?

There are so many recipes in this book, I’m sure that you too will find something that takes you back! Not to mention something delicious!

Recipes from my Mother 
by Rachel Allen
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9780008208172

The Scandinavian way

The interest in all things Scandinavian does not seem to be waning.  There has long been interest in the Scandinavian crafts but one of the more unusual titles:  The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning : how to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter is the last in long line in art of Scandi living to arrive at the library.

Not only do Scandinavians have The happiest kids in the world they also know how to stack wood and whittle. Belly fat is dealt to with The Scandinavian belly fat program : 12 weeks to get healthy, boost your energy and lose weight and if you want to look younger there is The Nordic guide to living 10 years longer : 10 easy tips to live a healthier, happier life.

If you are interested in more aspects of Scandinavian life then check out these lists on our website:



Cool stuff from the selectors – from emojis to gardens

9781783963508What’s Your Bias? The surprising science of why we vote the way we do Lee De-Wit
This is a timely book considering some of the surprising election results of recent years.  We may take for granted that people vote the same way as their parents, but it turns out that this is not so much to do with upbringing,  but because of our genetic similarities.  However there is so much more that influences the way we vote – or indeed if we vote! With chapter headings such as “Why do you always think you are right”, “What’s in a face” and “Faking it”, De-Wit offers an easy to read and fascinating look at the psychology behind our political preferences.

9781250129062The Emoji Code: the linguists behind smiley faces and scaredy cats Vyvyan Evans
A positive look at the way our language has evolved rather than a  bemoaning of the imminent loss of the written language.  The author argues that emojis enrich our ability to communicate, they ” allow us to express our emotions and induce empathy – ultimately making us better communicators”.  When we communicate digitally (every day 41.5 billion texts are sent) our non verbal cues are missed, the emoji can express these nuances.  Perhaps after reading this book I will be able to evolve, and move on from  the smiley face.

9780711236332Children’s Garden: Loads of things to make and grow Matthew Appleby
Many of us want our children to get off the computer and enjoy the outdoors.  The beauty of this book is there is no need to travel to the high country, you can introduce your children via your own garden, however big or small.  The book is divided by the seasons and includes craft projects, cooking your produce, games, keeping animals etc.  It shows that a garden can be full of creativity and fun, whatever the season.

9780714874609Vitamin C: Clay  + ceramic in contemporary art
Ceramics have left behind their image of rather nasty shaped pots created in night-school, and have now been accepted into the hallowed folds of “Art”. Each page has full colour plates ranging from the small and delicate to large monstrosities  and installations.  There is colour, detail, a dash of ‘goodness my three year old could have made that’, and plenty to be challenged by.