Cooking no drama for Katrina

While some of us battle to organise our sock drawers, Katrina Lange has made a living from her impressive organisational skills.

For the past 10 years the Marlborough 4 Fun chief executive and her team have been the driving force behind some of Marlborough's most-loved events, such as the Blenheim Christmas Parade held during the past weekend.

The parade was a major success and took six months of planning to make happen.

"There is a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes and it can be difficult getting everything organised, but it is really worth it when the event goes well and everyone has a great time," Katrina said.

Originally from Kent, in England, Katrina soon found her feet in events organisation after finishing her studies and worked her way up to the position of events manager at two respected events companies.

She organised events at prestigious venues such as Wembley Arena, Earls Court and NEC Birmingham and did events in European cities such as Nice in France, Prague in the Czech Republic, and Barcelona in Spain.

Arranging large events for major firms brought with it equally big challenges that required Katrina to be not only extremely organised but something of a diplomat too.

"A lot of it was dealing with people and sometimes having to calm situations down and making sure everyone is happy. In the end though, seeing a big event come together and be a success is worth all the effort," Katrina said.

In 1999 she moved to the Gold Coast of Australia, where she ran her own events management business before meeting future husband Steve. In 2001 the couple moved back to Steve's native New Zealand to Marlborough, which according to Katrina was meant to be an interim move.

"We are so settled here now though; I have so many friends and my job so we have ended up staying," added Katrina, who has a 2-year-old son, Sean, with Steve.

Aside from her busy work life she also loves to dance, having done ballet most of her school life before stopping when she was 18.

In Australia she picked up her love of dance again and continued in Marlborough, having danced in Blenheim productions such as Chicago, Cats and, most recently, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens.

"I am really glad to have been able to get back into dance and to be able to do local productions," Katrina said.

"Blenheim has a pretty active theatre scene."

Katrina is the sole cook in the house and loves to try new recipes or organise dinner parties for friends.

Now that Sean is getting older, she also enjoys doing baking with him, with butterfly cakes a favourite at the moment.


Butterfly cakes

A nice and easy recipe to make with your kids.

100g caster sugar

100g soft margarine

100g self-raising flour

2 level tsp baking powder

2 eggs

Heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Place the sugar, margarine and eggs in your mixing bowl and sift the flour and baking powder over.

Beat all the ingredients together for two to three minutes with a wooden spoon.

Spoon the mixture into paper cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

To make a simple icing sugar combine 250g icing sugar and 125 butter with your choice of flavourings such as 1 dessert spoon of cocoa or coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water or grated rind of 1 orange.

Fruit mince tarts

A family favourite of Katrina's.

Makes 18.

250g softened butter

1 cup caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 cups flour, plus a bit extra for dusting

1 tablespoon custard powder

3 cups fruit mince

Icing sugar to dust

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add egg yolk and beat again.

Sift the flour and custard powder and fold with the mixture to form dough.

Add extra flour if necessary.

Turn pastry on to a piece of plastic wrap and flatten slightly, wrap up and put in the fridge for 30min.

Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and spray 18 muffin pans with oil.

Roll pastry on a well floured bench to 3mm thickness and use a 7cm round cutter for circles.

Dust the underside before pressing into muffin pans and fill with fruit mince then seal with pastry lid.

Bake for 18 to 20min or until edges turn golden.

Dust with icing sugar.


The Marlborough Express