Home' The Wellingtonian : July 21st 2011 Contents 22 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JULY 21, 2011
The benefits of a good pudding
Sweet tooth: Alexa Johnston is bringing her baking message to Wellington.
By KELSEY IPSEN
Auckland baker Alexa Johnston
will be bringing her brand of
wicked treats to Wellington next
month for the Wellington On a
Plate food festival.
Ms Johnston has been helping
those afflicted with a sweet tooth
and a taste for the home-baking
since the 2008 release of her first
book, Ladies, a Plate.
Her hobby is scouring her large
cookbook collection to uncover and
retest easy-to-make home recipes.
The collection started with her
mother s copies of the New Zealand
Women's Institutes Home Cookery
Book and the League of Mothers
Cookery Book, as well as several
church fundraising cookbooks.
Ladies, a Plate encouraged New
Zealanders to return to home-
baking and, in turn, has inspired
Ms Johnston to compile another
collection of recipes, What's For
This book offers a simple mess-
age about what she believes is
another much-needed revival in
New Zealand kitchens -- Bring
back the pudding .
Ms Johnston will feature in the
masterclass event at the Welling-
ton On a Plate festival.
The masterclass, at the Michael
Fowler Centre on August 19, is an
all-day feast for minds and taste
buds. It will feature cooking
demonstrations and leave visitors
with goodie bags, full stomachs and
secrets they can try at home.
Visitors will learn about flaky
pastry, fruit pie, almond and sugar
toffee and an icecream made with
milk, cream and rennet. Ms
Johnston said the icecream
reminded her of eating Frosty Jack
in the 1960s when she visited Wel-
lington as a girl.
For her, an important part of
baking is connecting with others,
which is what drew her to the
More people, especially younger
women, are starting to get back
into baking and it seems to mean
more now, since baking takes time
and effort and we have this sense of
everyone being so busy, she said.
Too busy for pudding? Never, she
said, pointing out the benefits of a
It is a wonderful meal to share,
it can be healthier than people
think and it stops you from getting
the urge to snack late at night.
In fact, the act of baking itself
could improve mental health, she
It s about loving and caring for
other people and that s the most
important thing in life. And it s
fun! Baking is like magic. You put
the ingredients in and out comes
something wonderful and
And if it doesn t?
Well, you just pick yourself up
and try again.
When Ms Johnston isn t hunting
through her cookbooks, she is a
Wellington on a Plate 2011, August
5 to 21. For more information visit
New Zealand-China movie link tightens
By DIANE SCOTT
New Zealand anime films -- a
Japanese style of animation -- are a
step closer thanks to a new agree-
ment with a Chinese company.
The culture craze has become
increasingly popular in New Zea-
land, but until now New Zealand
film has struggled to produce a
high-budget anime film.
New Zealand film producers
Michael Bennett and Maile Daugh-
erty have recently signed a memor-
andum of understanding with
Beijing-based Xing Xing Digital
Corporation to do a joint production
of Downside Story.
Downside Story follows Frankie
Feng s fight to return a lost kitten
to upper-class Shanghai.
The family film will have an $18
million budget and will feature the
latest 3-D technologies.
Bennett has worked on television
series Outrageous Fortune and fea-
ture film Matariki.
Daugherty has experience in ani-
mation and special effects pro-
The two producers received sup-
port from the New Zealand Film
Commission, assisting their
attendance at the Shanghai Inter-
national Film Festival, where the
memorandum of understanding
with Xing Xing Digital was signed.
In addition, Wellington-based
Weta Workshop has provided
assistance with initial art work.
The project illustrates the
increasing influence of Asia in the
New Zealand film industry.
Downside Story is expected to be
in cinemas by 2013.
A warm hello to
Delicious: Jasmine Griffin with a Whittaker's Chocolate limited edition website block. Photo: EMMA BEER
By EMMA BEER
Chocolate can be enjoyed in many
forms -- block, icecream, even beer --
but Whittaker s has taken the cocoa
dream a step further and put it online.
The Porirua-based company has
created what it says is the world s first
From the background to the buttons,
the carefully designed website is made
of real 72 per cent Ghana chocolate.
Marketing manager Philip Poole said
the website was a joint effort between
in-house staff and outside agencies.
We wanted to get a more luxury
chocolate feel to the site, Mr Poole
Over the years the brand had moved
into a more premium position, he said.
We felt the old site didn t sort of
reflect that, so we wanted a site that
was basically rich with chocolate. We
wanted to get that chocolate story and
that chocolate feel to the site.
Marketing assistant Jasmine Griffin
said the idea had been really success-
Most people s feedback was really
positive. They wanted to lick the
screen, and a few said they wanted to
rush out and buy a peanut slab or
Whittaker s chocolate bar.
A special edition website chocolate
block was created for the site. First it
was designed, then it was digitalised
and cut into a 3-D mould. The mould
was then filled with one of its best
sellers, Dark Ghana.
Each of the buttons was photo-
graphed and these were uploaded on to
the site, making the world s first choc-
There were only 500 of the website
blocks made. Many were given away in
competitions on social media pages,
and the last block was auctioned off on
Trade Me to raise money for Christ-
church earthquake relief.
The bar, signed by Andrew and
Brian Whittaker, sold for $450.
Ms Griffin said some people had
eaten them but there were a few people
that she thought were really dedicated
to not eating the website blocks.
Mr Poole said chocolate was a very
emotional area, particularly with
females, and could get a huge response
from people, particularly if a flavour
was taken off the market.
The problem is, the ones we take off
the market are slow sellers. They ve
probably got 100 people that buy it, but
those 100 people will phone up.
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