Letters to the Zoo

Books, mostly.

Month: July, 2016

My Main Man Sam

Dear Zoo,

So here is a story. For quite a large portion of my life I wrote poetry. I would say 90% of it was dribble and 10% was not bad. I wrote and wrote. And my mum would talk to me about poetry and, particularly, a man named Sam Hunt. Mum said I had to be of a certain age to see this rambling, drunken, swears-like-a-ships-captain man. This mysterious and intriguing poet. I can’t remember how old I was when I went to his first show. 12? Maybe older. It’s a blurry memory but I remember two things: being in a room full of adults and this man on the stage, this Sam Hunt, and his voice like wood smoke on a wet day.

I still love him, obviously. I recommend listening to this interview on RNZ or at least watching the 5 minute video.

Interview with Sam Hunt on RNZ






Just Started, Just Finished


Dear Zoo,

Some books I’ve been poking my nose in. The Magician’s Elephant caught my eye at work and oh my, what a glorious book. I am truly astounded by some children’s books. The language in this story tugged at my heart on almost every page. Words are so fab. It was such a well-rounded tale with a very satisfying ending. Perfect. I practically ran to work today to borrow The Tale of Desperaux (also by Kate DiCamillo).

And at the far other end of the scale: longitudes, ice science, petrels. I have a wee soft sport for Antarctica and though reading about science makes my brain feel a bit squeezy I will wade through it for the gems. Oh, hearing Cook describe each bird spotted on his exploration around the pole. The book works chronologically through ice science and discovery and I can’t wait to get a bit further along, to Scott and others I haven’t met yet.

Yay books. What are you reading?

Yours exploring,



Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscuits

125 grams of butter, softened
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
A generous 1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups of wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 cup of coconut
100 grams of good quality dark chocolate chopped into small chunks
(I use and recommend Whittaker’s Dark Block, 50% cocoa)

Makes about 30 biscuits. 

Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Prepare two oven trays.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. (I used electric beaters). Beat in the egg and vanilla essence until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a spatula occasionally. Add the peanut butter and beat in to combine.

Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add in the flakes left in the sieve, we’re only sifting to aerate the flour not to remove lumps. Then sift in the cocoa (leaving out the lumps!). Add the coconut and chocolate and fold together until well combined and you have a nice dough.

Roll heaped tablespoons of dough into balls and place on an oven tray. Press down on each biscuit with your fingers or a fork to flatten slightly. I bake my biscuits in two batches, one tray at a time. Bake for about 12 minutes (all ovens are different, they may need a little longer. I always flip one biscuit over and check for a nice brown bottom). Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They’ll keep for up to a week in an airtight container.

A recipe? You ask. How strange. I know, right! But in the next few days my old blog is being released back into the wild (read: not renewing the domain) and this recipe was one of the best things to come out of that blog so I thought I would plonk it over here. Happy spoon-licking!