It ain’t the Ritz

After spending four unplanned nights in Wellington Hospital last week, I had an hour or two of time for contemplation. This included planning my night-time escape – could I walk out of the place with nobody noticing? Nonchalantly stroll along the corridors, hop into the lift, then make a run for the front doors? I pondered this question as I scoured the floor for a clean loo at 1am (yes I realise I’m ocd).

Other observations during the 90 hours in captivity – ok, to be fair, that’s a tad dramatic. The care was good, the bed not too bad and I had a corner cubicle with a window. Never-the-less, some thoughts/questions remain:

  • Orange coloured water is orange coloured water, not pumpkin soup.
  • Why does “no red meat” mean eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
  • Nil by mouth overnight does not mean one doesn’t want to order food for when one can eat.
  • Flavourless boiled pumpkin doesn’t taste any better when served rolled from an ice cream scoop.
  • When I was finding it hard to find a bright note about meals, I recalled the little pottle of Tip Top vanilla ice cream. Shsh, don’t tell the Minister there’s something palatable on the food tray.
  • Plastic air-filled pillows. Why?
  • Television card dispensing machine takes cash only ($8/24 hours). But no cash machine anywhere near. That’s gotta be easy for patients.
  • Why are hospital cleaners and orderlies paid so poorly? Surely at least the living wage for work many wouldn’t contemplate is a no brainer.
  • Why did the smug resident tell me that he was about to flush my line with “salty water” – I hadn’t realised “saline” was a complicated word to understand.


While hospital food wasn’t everyone’s taste  – made airline food look Michelin star level – the café downstairs thankfully had some good options that catered for every dietary requirement. For the record, that would be the café I popped into wearing my pjs and ugg boots. Nobody told me it was in the main foyer and I was in a one way lift. It was too late once I got there. Yes, all style I know.

I haven’t really been up to baking so I’m relying on an old favourite for this post. Today’s recipe is a staple that I turn to when needing baking in a hurry. You can use the base recipe for chocolate chippies, yoyos, jam bikkies, or any basic biscuit.

What you’ll need

125g butter, slightly softened

60g icing sugar

150g plain flour

3 Tbsp corn flour

1 Tbsp custard powder

Chocolate chips – to your liking (the more the better)

How to make them

Heat oven to 180C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.


Cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Sift the dry ingredients together and mix into creamed mixture until combined.


Mix through the chocolate chips.


Using a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of mixture on to the prepared tray.


Then lightly press with a fork. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until beginning to change colour slightly.


Remove tray from the oven. After a few minutes, move biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

These freeze well – I always keep a batch in the freezer to pop into lunch boxes.


If you want to make more of a yoyo type biscuit, leave out the choc chips. Sandwich together with butter icing that has some custard powder in it. I often also add a little passionfruit curd to the icing.

Whatever you do with this recipe, I’m sure it won’t take long for it to become your quick “go to” as well. Unlike hospital food!

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