11 months ago

Selwyn Times: July 26, 2016


26 Tuesday July 26 2016 Taste SELWYN TIMES Baking perfection is no piece of cake Cakes by Anna owner Anna Worthington • By Gabrielle Stuart IT WAS cake perfection: Three layers baked, iced and decorated, ready for a wedding that afternoon – until Anna Worthington dropped it. As a new business-owner, looking down at the mess that was the once perfect cake she had spent hours crafting, she said it was one of her lowest points. But also it taught her perspective, she said. She was able to pull herself together and create a new cake in just three hours, and the bride and groom never learned about the disaster, she said. “I used to lose sleep over making wedding cakes. But now I think even in the worst case scenario, if I was to walk into the reception and drop the cake in front of them, it would have to be pretty bad to completely ruin their wedding.” It was the same attitude that gave her the courage to quit her job to start her own cake-making business, Cakes by Anna. She grew up in Christchurch, but left the city as a teenager to do a fine arts degree in Auckland. She went overseas after she graduated, and travelled around Europe for more than a year. There, she put her hand up for whatever work she could find, and discovered she really enjoyed cooking and baking. She was also inspired by the food and culture around community markets there, she said. She returned to Christchurch in 2012, not planning to stay for long, but said she was inspired by what was happening in the city. “Growing up I didn’t have a big attachment to Christchurch. It felt it wasn’t exciting enough for me. But coming back I was meeting really interesting people, and it felt like a fresh start.” She began working in a cafe, but on the side began developing her own business idea, selling cakes at the Christchurch Farmers Market in Riccarton. She said a lot of cakes being sold at the time were very sweet and covered in fondant, and she wanted to do something different. Her goal was to use as many natural and local ingredients as she could, and always experiment – pulling together flavour combinations like gin, lime and coconut or her most popular pear, date and salted caramel cakes. She began baking cakes after work in her mother’s kitchen, and selling them each weekend, but she said the business grew fast. “I was working crazy hours, from 6am to 2pm at the cafe in the kitchen, and once I was finished there I would go and do baking until late. After about six months doing both jobs I totally burnt out.” At that point she quit her job to start baking full-time. Although it was a big step, she decided she had nothing to lose. “After I quit the job I realised I had so much more time to put effort into it and really research recipes, and instead of being tired all the time I was really enjoying it.” She now has one employee, and works form a commercial kitchen in Linwood. Although she has enough work from orders from local cafes and events to keep the business going, she still plans to stick to her roots and keep her market stall running each week. HOMEGROWN: Cakes By Anna started as a small stall at the Riccarton House market, but Anna Worthington now works from a commercial kitchen and has a growing customer base. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN It’s time to grow The magazine for gardeners who like to get their hands dirty Bigger from August 22

SELWYN TIMES Tuesday July 26 2016 27 Gardening Plant silverbeet in stages for constant supply • By Tod Palenski SPINACH AND silverbeet are the perfect space fillers in a winter vege garden. Plant them in between your larger and longer growing vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and they’ll be finished with the space before its needed. They’re both full of vitamins, are perfect additions to a wide variety of dishes and, my favourite, you can pick the leaves off the plants as they reach the size you desire. Once you’ve got your seedlings you need to find a spot to plant them. Spinach likes full sun and well-fertilised soil. And silverbeet likes well-drained soil – which, actually makes it really good for planting in pots. Before you start gardening it pays to mix into the soil some compost or a good general fertiliser like nitrophoska blue. Then simply plant your seedlings around 20cm apart from each other. Remember, if you’ve planted (or are planning to grow) longer growing vegetables, like any members of the brassica family, plant your silverbeet and spinach seedlings in the rows in between. Both of these tasty veges are also enjoyed by slugs and snails so keep an eye out for these slimy pests. Depending on the condition of your soil your space filling plants will be ready to harvest in around eight to 12 weeks. If your soil is well composted and free-draining you’ll be looking at more like eight weeks. And remember if you want a constant supply of beet and spinach – stagger your planting (plant more every couple of weeks). HEALTHY: Silverbeet and spinach like full sun and well-drained soil. Control pests with winter spraying THE BEST antidote to a pest and disease-ridden spring garden is thorough winter spraying. Nothing toxic is required — simply give plants a good dowsing of copper spray, followed a week later by an application of spraying oil. Both of these are regarded as organic. Repeat three times over the winter months to kill both overwintering insect eggs and disease spores. It’s especially important to spray fruit trees (including citrus), roses and other deciduous plants, as well as any plants badly infested with insect pests or disease last summer. In fact, you should spray the entire garden, but wait for any winter-flowering plants to finish blooming before you begin. Garden pests lurk in the most unexpected places. Check the undersides of leaves for scale insects, and leaf sheaths and stems for mealybug and scale. Look for silvering of leaves on evergreen shrubs and trees including rhododendrons, camellias and pieris. This silvering indicates the presence of thrips. Spray oil to clean these up and reduce their numbers for spring. Collect diseased fallen leaves and place in the rubbish bin (not the organics bin). Spray the ground around infected plants with copper spray to help kill disease spores. Winter-hardy weeds can overrun the garden, making control in spring a nightmare. Spray with fast-acting glyphosate or dig out hard-to-kill weeds such as dock. Once weeding is done, fork compost through soil and mulch with a 10cm layer of fine bark or pea straw. gardening without guesswork Question: Can you please tell me what I need to do to care for the camellia’s I have in my garden? I haven’t done much with them since I moved in, and wondered what it is I need to do to keep them at their best? You will notice that your camellias have been blooming through the Answer: last months. Some varieties will have stopped blooming now, but some are still in flower. The end of winter is a great time to give them a feed of fertiliser, add some mulch and give them a wee rim. To feed them, use Intelligro Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron fertiliser. They don’t require a lot, as this can cause more harm than good, so make sure you follow the application instructions are on the container. If you are unsure of anything, you can ask our friendly team if you have any further questions. A layer of our Organic Compost is also a great option to apply to your soil. Just remember to leave a ring around the base of your plant. This is especially important if you find that your soil is very heavy and needs something to improve drainage. It will also help to retain moisture in the soil, which will decrease the chances of drought-stress. Pruning to keep them in a tidy shape is recommended. Make sure that your secateurs are sharp so you get a clean cut. Pruning will also encourage new growth, so it definitely has its benefits. These are the main things to think about with your camellias. They are pretty care-free plants that will produce beautiful blooms through the wintery days. We hope this helps! Thanks to Erin for her question. for more information, check out our website: or visit our facebook page: QualITy prOducTs frOm ThE WEB TO ThE shEd! WIN! a $50 INTEllIgrO gIfT VOuchEr! fertilising Intelligro Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron Fertiliser is designed specifically for these acid-loving plants. They have a specific nutritional requirement, and this food helps to keep these plants in a healthy state. Follow the application directions, and place around the drip line (under the outer leaves so when the water falls onto the ground it soaks the fertiliser is). Send us your question and BE IN TO WIN! Email to: or post your question on our Facebook page: Questions must be received by Tuesday 2nd August