So where exactly is Plum Tree Cottage? .. that’s easy , it’s in Hanmer Springs.
….And where is Hanmer Springs? Well, first you need to head down under to New Zealand, once there , go to the South Island and if you are in the city of Christchurch then you take State Highway 1 North until you reach Waipara, turn left inland on State Highway 7 heading towards the Lewis Pass until you come to the Hanmer turnoff.
Once you have passed the bridge that straddles the gorge and checked out any bungy jumpers who may be about to leap off it, it’s then just a short drive into the village. So, what so Cool about Hanmer?
Well “ cool” isn’t exactly the right word for it.. “Hot” would be a far better one. This small alpine village with a permanent population of 900 souls play host to many visitors who flock to the town’s main attraction: geothermal hot pools, that occur naturally in the area.
There’s a large rectangular pool that’s a cool 25 C (77 F) and then the properly warm stuff: a multitude of smaller pools ranging in temperatures from 36 – 42 C ( 96- 107 F). That means no matter what kind of heat you can mange there will be a pool to suit your personal preference.
I can attest that these pools are simply divine in soaking away jet lag, and if you have been taking advantage of the many walking and mountain biking trails in the large forest areas that almost surround Hanmer, or the skiing in winter in the ski fields nearby,, then your tired and weary limbs will adore the respite of the soothing heat of the pools waters.
Linette , one of the permanent residents of Hanmer Springs makes the very best Bran Date Muffins…. … she and I swapped some recipes and I have made these for many a subsequent visitor to rave reviews.
If you don’t wish to make 18-20 muffins then this mix can be used to make 12 muffins and 1 small loaf. Sultanas can be mixed into the date amount if preferred. Mixture can be made up to 2 days in advance and covered, refrigerated until use. Thanks Linette!
2 ½ cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
3 ½ cups unprocessed natural bran
1 ½ cups pitted dates (chopped)
1 cup vegetable oil ( for example – light olive)
2 ½ cups low fat milk
2 eggs ( lightly beaten)
Pre-heat oven to 190 C (375 F)
Sift together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon.
Stir in the chopped dates, unprocessed bran and sugar.
Mix together the lightly beaten eggs, milk and vegetable oil, and then gently stir into the flour, dates etc mix until only just combined.
Spoon into a muffin pan and bake in a moderate to hot oven (190 C / 375 F) for about 20 minutes or until cooked.
Moi ? … I like my muffins warmly broken open and dubbed with a pat of real butter… yum!!!