We have had many guests at The Vintage Room and Blossom Cottage, who enjoyed the sauna, hot tub and Rene's relaxing and affordable massages or playing table tennis and interacting with the animals: alpacas, bunnies, sheep, hens and ducks on our property. When out and about in Rotorua city, many of our guests spent time at Canopy Tours, which is perfect for those of you who love a bit of excitement, coupled with interesting local facts on flora and fauna. Your guides will enlighten you with their inspiring stories, while they take you on a 3 hour guided tour through native bush with walking trails, bridges and zip lines. Minimum age is 6 years ....... and I have been led to believe that the oldest participant was 93 years of age, so no excuses!
A great free attraction is Government Gardens with its stunning botanical beauty, ponds and art deco Blue Baths building, where you can enjoy a luxurious soak. If feeling a little peckish at The Blue Baths, you can make your way upstairs to 'The Social Room' to enjoy morning or afternoon tea in 1930's style. Take a stroll to view our iconic, tudor style museum. Unfortunately, the museum is closed due to work to rectify earthquake damage, but the museum guides are still out and about in Rotorua taking visitors on free guided tours. Just a hop, skip and jump away from Government Gardens is a walk along the outskirts of Lake Rotorua, which includes Sulphur Point, a fascinating thermal area along the shore. Take care and don't leave the designated paths or board walks, as the hot, sulphur-laden ground could crumble away under your feet if you venture off the track.
I would like to tell you about a wonderful restaurant that has only been open for about a year in Rotorua. It is off the beaten track in a quiet section of Rotorua city, away from the noisy, commercial eateries in town. Walk towards Central Mall on Tutanekai Street, turn left into Amohau Street and you will find The Paradise Indian Restaurant. In my opinion, this is the best Indian restaurant in Rotorua, with attentive, humble staff, who are passionate about their food, which is prepared freshly each day. Go on, if you love Indian food, give this understated little gem a try and prove me wrong.
That's all the info on Rotorua for this week. Here is a recipe for the best American scones in the world, given to me by a wonderful guest from Minnesota, called Marggi. If you make sure everything you use for this recipe is icy cold and you don't let the butter melt or don't overwork the dough, you won't struggle to make the perfect scone ever again.
Marggi's American Scones: Pre-heat oven on fan bake at 200 degrees celsius. Sieve 2 cups plain flour, 1/4 cup caster sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 heaped tbsp baking powder into a cold bowl from the fridge. Grate 110 grams of butter from the freezer into the bowl with cold hands. To do this, dip butter into the dry mixture, grate, dip, grate, mixing butter into flour and so on until the butter is used up. Put the bowl with dry ingredients in the fridge. In another icy cold bowl, whisk together a cold egg and a cup of cold buttermilk or cream. Take your bowl of dry ingredients out of the fridge and add the dry mixture to the wet, not the other way around. Mix with a metal spoon until the mixture JUST comes together. It will be quite wet. Scatter some flour on the bench, lay dough on flour and scatter some more flour on the dough. Fold double, flatten with a cold plate, fold and flatten and so on 5 times. Gently pat mixture into a square about 2 cm thick and cut into 8 pieces. Using a flat egg slice, gently place dough on an oven tray with baking paper, about 1 cm apart. Sprinkle with sugar, brush with egg wash or sprinkle with grated cheese and rest dough for 5 minutes while the baking powder does its work. Fan bake for 15-18 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius until golden.
Serve plain with whipped cream, butter, home-made jam and lemon curd. For a sweet option, you can add berries, dates, raisins or cranberries. Savoury options: add grated cheese, onions, peppers, olives, sun-dried tomatoes or pesto.
I hope you enjoy these delicious scones.That's all the news from Blossom Cottage and The Vintage Room in Rotorua! I look forward to next week and bringing you up to date on other activities and attractions in Rotorua and spoiling you with another one of my favourite recipes.
Until next time,