They used to say that women used to buy small things like lipsticks as an inexpensive pick me up. I know that I've certainly used retail therapy during a frustrating day or one in which I needed a bright point. But nowadays with the cost of a lipstick upwards of $40, perhaps we need to find another way to pep up our days and for foodies, there is no better way than with food. I spoke with six women to find out what their favourite $10 or less items were.
Annabel Langbein, television presenter and cookbook author
It's no surprise that Annabel Langbein's favourite $10 treat is a cheese. She hails from New Zealand which some fantastic dairy products and her fridge always has a ready supply of good cheeses. "My $10 treat is a gorgeous piece of cheese enjoyed with some rustic bread or a crispbread like my Sesame and Oregano Lavosh.
"I couldn't resist this Brillat Savarin cheese at the market because it looked so oozy and divine. I'm a complete cheese slut. I love gorgonzola, Meredith goat's cheese and Brillat-Savarin triple cream cheese – the stinkier the better! Regarding wine, I have a real Central Otago palate, and the pinot noir and dry Riesling from Amisfield are hard to go past."
Queen Viv, sub-editor/feature writer in magazine publishing
The woman who came up with the $10 treat story idea, Queen Viv shared her favourite treat with us. It's a regular Sunday night event where she buys two thirds of a kilo of New Zealand green lip mussels from her local fishmongers which that day cost her a total of of $2.65. She cooks these with a clove of garlic and two green spring onions and some wine from a $3 bottle of wine and a small side of bread-sometimes this is a home made loaf or a small store bought one.
"I always loved the kai moana, grew up with it. We (me and my son Michael plus friends etc) used to pick mussels off the rocks for a fresh feast. We did this while holidaying in a batch (aka hut or lodge) at the same beach where "The Piano" was filmed and would eat them off a table that was a big cable spool. The recipe is my own and dead simple."
Maeve O'Meara, Television Host and Food Tour Host
Food Safari's Maeve O'Meara's favourite $10 treat is one that she has been eating for years, ever since she started doing the food safari tours in Auburn. At Gima supermarket, where she takes groups, she buys a 1 kilo pot of Chtaura natural yogurt for $3.30. She then spoons over some Tam Tad Turkish black mulberry jam for $3.30. "Turkey is like a fruit bowl" she says and produces a wide variety of fruit which is jammed and preserved.
The jams often have whole fruit suspended in a syrup rather than crushed or pureed in texture and the mulberries tumble out over the slightly tart unsweetened yogurt along with a dark river of syrup. This combination is Maeve's - Turkish people usually use yogurt in cooking or in drinks rather than for breakfast. She likes that "the lovely set yogurt is so silky and not too creamy" and that the combination "has that nice sour taste that goes well with sweetness of mulberries."
Julie Goodwin, Cookbook writer and Season 1 winner Masterchef
Masterchef's Season one winner Julie Goodwin has parlayed her win into several cookbooks and is a regular in food magazines and has a regular spot on the Today show. When I asked her for her favourite, it was easy: Maggie Beer's Pheasant Pate which she often takes on picnics.
"I'm not much of a sweet tooth, so when I want to indulge, it's usually in the savoury department. One of my favourite treats is a platter with delicious things like cheese, olives, crackers and pate. Maggie Beer's pate is my favourite to buy because it's so delicious. And the best way to enjoy it, is in the sunshine with a glass of cold white wine and some good friends!"
Faye Cahill, owner and creative director at Faye Cahill Cake Design
For cake artist Faye Cahill, sugar and sweets are still on her favourites list when it comes to a snack. Her favourite snack is actually made by a friend Libby Marriner at Cookies and Milk a cookie bar in Newtown. It was Faye that first introduced me to Libby's Lemonade Lace cookies which are a refreshing, crisp thin cookie dusted with lemon sherbert.
"I find sweet on sweet on sweet not as appealing to me but I like the flavour that lemon brings to the cookies. It's a favourite flavour" says the softly spoken Faye. For $10, she can get three of these cookies and a cup of tea and relax with a friend. She also brings her husband Andrew and daughter Ramona here and Ramona gets her own little treat, some tiny iced cookies.
Natalie Tran, Online Video Producer
"I'm a creature of habit" admits the extraordinarily successful comedian and video blogger Natalie Tran. As if to substantiate that claim, she tells me that her treat of pistachio cookies taken at Yama Cafe on the second floor of the QVB is one that she has already had three times this week already. The cafe is her favourite meeting place in the city and the owner David often saves these treats for her. She has talked about them so much on the vlogs that he wondered why there was an influx of 15 year old girls buying pistachio cookies.
She has the pistachio cookies with a cup of English breakfast tea. "There's something fun and cheeky about cracking open a biscuit and seeing its bright green chewy insides. To be fair, it's probably a combination of my love for the cafe and the biscuit that sees me grabbing one of these whenever I want a pick me up. I do always feel much better, even after just buying one to take home, so they must be working" Natalie says.
She then adds "The quietness of the top level of the QVB has always perplexed me, especially considering how chaotic the lower levels can be. It's seems quite fitting that Yama sits on one of those top levels, floating quietly above all the clamour, especially when you get to know the owner, David, and when you start eating here. The food is fresh and consistent, the servings are generous, and I just feel calm there. I love that you can sit somewhere in one of the most iconic buildings in our city and feel calm."
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your favourite $10 or under pick me up or what do you do to de-stress after a hard day?