I've ranted before on this and my other blog about the dangers of discounting and the ridiculous 'specialling' culture that New Zealand retailers have. They compete on price only, forgetting about the importance of service and quality produce.
Most often though we are lucky to be experiencing the greatest opportunity of any time in history, the opportunity to try, use and even indulge in some of the best offerings the world has. You don't have to be rich or even well off. You just have to be discerning.
This afternoon I indulged. With the late afternoon winter sun illuminating the kitchen and half of the living room I have been eating chunky dry smoked New Zealand salmon with chilli jam on oven-dried bruschetta. I have enjoyed this with a Church Road McDonald Series 2011 Hawkes Bay Chardonnay while listening to Maria Callas ( The best of ... Romantic Callas).
The last hour has been sublime. I have been transported ....
"AND ALL THIS FOR JUST $29.99 BE QUICK OFFER ENDS......."
Don't you hate it when those noisy and intrusive discount offers blast out from the radio or TV. Do they think we are all deaf or, more likely, have gone to make a cup of tea or to have a pee during the ad break.
Really though, the Chardonnay, a well-crafted beautiful wine I bought on special at a supermarket at about $17 off at $14.95. It is rich, leesy, pleasantly woody but well balanced. At this price a steal and at the original price very good value against comparable American, Australian and French Chardonnays.
The salmon is great. New Zealand salmon is underrated. It is rich without being gaggingly over-rich, and delicate even though smoked. Cut in slices on bread is the way I like it. It was very affordable from New World - about $5.95 for a chunk that lasted the Old Girl and I through the weekend.
I made the chili jam last year. I bought bulk, over-ripe tomatoes for next to nothing. The chillis and other ingredients were cheap as. We made enough to share with friends and to last us a year. Yum.
The bruschetta is actually left over bread that the Old Girl sliced and baked in the oven a couple of weeks ago. It lasts a month or more. No need to buy the packaged stuff from shops. This is as good as the crostinis and other over-priced deli stuff.
The setting? Here, at our 'up north' house. What can I say - I love it.
The music? As I said Maria Callas with her beautiful soaring voice with the odd quirky cracked note. Listening to Caro nome from Rigoletto with a gob-full of salmon swished down with good Chardonnay
is as near to heaven as I can think of.
And it cost bugger all.