Tag Archives: photos

Dunedin – a glance

When I write, I feel like an armless legless man with a crayon in his mouth.
~ Kurt Vonnegut















Like always, photos capture so much and nothing at all at the same time!



Like a sack of gold…

If rich food can kill, people live dangerously here.
~ Alice Furland

… rich food galore tonight in the Treehouse, with Matt, Jono and honorary flattie Ms Char :-)

From Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#34 Carrot Cake – page 259 (which Matt is taking to work, thankfully)
#35 Pan-Fried Veal Chops with Lemon, Sage & Mascarpone – page 315

Matt taught me how to ‘chop’ walnuts today: with a wooden ladle? Looked like fun too…

Carrot rain.

Getting ready to cook the ‘veal chops’ (ok, they are actually lamb chops because veal was nowhere to be found at Moore Wilson’s)

Rich, rich sauce…

Finished products:

A simple salad of carrot, capsicum, mesclun, lemon, mint
Brownies from Orangette: see ‘Best-Ever Brownies’ (mix pictured near the top of this post)

I’m a little lacking in prose tonight, the day has gone by so quickly… I am sleepy… goodnight…

Oh! Before I forget!…… 1. Thanks Matt for cooking some of the time with me! and 2. Last day of ‘Revolt of the Mannequins’… the dear ones escaped!

Alright, goodnight for real now. Au revoir.

Thank goodness for hungry boys

A full belly makes a dull brain.
~ Benjamin Franklin

I met Annisha in my first few weeks at university, and somehow we stayed friends despite our awkward first conversation in class (I was shy and not so good at reading faces; she was having a “don’t talk to me!” day). 6 years later, I am sooooo glad we can roll off the couch in laughter, cook together in the kitchen, attempt singing French songs while in our pyjamas… you know those people with whom you can sit at a bus stop waiting for a late bus, and have fun the whole time? She is like that for me.

Wellington was blessed with warm sunny skies today and we made the most of it! We had coffee with Haidee at Espressoholic, then spent the afternoon strolling past the buskers on colourful Cuba Street, eating a late lunch, traipsing in and out of shops…… ahh, perfect! No urge to buy much however, except a very CUTE secondhand book “Accommodating Brocolli in the Cemetery – or why can’t anybody spell?” by Vivian Cook :-) On the back of this book is printed: “It is a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word.” (US President Andrew Jackson). Ahhhh, language, words, English, I love you, even though you are one of the craziest languages in the world.

Passed this cute wall and window by Swonderful (a funky Wellington shop) and couldn’t resist snapping a photo of it:

Nish and I made dinner tonight for 3 boys (2 of them my flatties) and ourselves.

The cookbook project continues… from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#26 Greek-Cypriot Salad – Page 188
#27 Moist Chocolate Cake – Page 374

From the talented cook Nish:
Baked chicken with lemon, chilli and herbs

Salad: ‘generous’ is the way I would describe it – feta, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, oregano, onion, garlic, red wine and vinegar (the recipe had called for red wine vinegar which I didn’t have… oops)… for some reason I could imagine a large Greek family huddled around a table eating this.

Chicken: wonderful, fresh and flavourful with the lemon and chilli, browned and just yummy.

Potatoes: always the perfect complement to food, spuds. These were salted and herbed… heartiness.

Cake: butter, sugar, eggs, chocolate, flour, rum (used in place of brandy, which the recipe called for)… and a thickened sugar syrup poured on the top of it when it was cooled, to moisten it. I found this ok, but certainly not the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had ;-)

Sure glad the boys were here to help eat everything. Nish and I were way full from our 3pm lunch and could hardly stomach our food – and the glorious 3 boys sat eating, even saying the food was delicious, while it all disappeared into their skinny selves.

‘Death medicine’ (or green soup)

I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.
~ George Bush, U.S. President (1990)

What you see here, my dears, is version #16 (or so) of a concoction with humble, accidental (?) beginnings.

One memorable day last year, I found to my horror that my flatmate Matt had made us green soup for dinner. GREEN SOUP. I’ve had tasty colourful soups (like a blood-red champagne & watermelon soup in a vineyard once) before, but the sight of this gloopy, mossy, duck-poo coloured green gloop did not appeal to me at all… at first, anyway…

I remained doubtful even though Matt attributed this magic potion in part to a marvellous cauliflower amuse bouche we once had in a restaurant (flavourful and poignant, a bouquet of garlic and wonder which truly paved the way to an enjoyable dinner).

When I finally closed my eyes and lifted the glass to my lips… I found myself surprised to the point of glee… which just goes to show you should NEVER, EVER judge a book by its cover. Or a soup by its look. Whatever.

“Try everything at least once”, my mom always encouraged, and except for the odd occasion (eg. turtle soup, sea urchin and ostrich eggs), I have mostly emerged the better for it. Sometimes, especially when you least expect it, food can reach past your senses and surprise you with something akin to a happy dream.

Anyway, I had 2 little shot-glasses of it tonight when Matt made this particular version of what he has named ‘death medicine’… and I include the recipe below with his permission. He did not measure these exactly, but they should be pretty accurate.

    1/2 broccoli
    1 courgette
    1/2 cup sango sprouts (I hate this in salads but it is not bad in soup)
    1/3 cup unsweetened yoghurt
    1 tbsp cream cheese
    tuscan seasoning
    cajun spice
    black pepper
    truffle oil
    Method to Matt’s madness:
    Steam broccoli and courgette.
    When they are soft, pulse and blend them with any excess water (approximately 1/3 cup), sprouts, yoghurt, cream cheese, seasoning and spice until it becomes a nice creamy soup. Adjust ingredient quantities till you reach desired taste and consistency.
    Pour it into a glass and pour a tiny bit of truffle oil on the top before adding a small sprinkle of dill.
    Yields 2 servings.

Honey-sweet, chocolate-deep

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
~ Lewis Carroll

I had a brief affair with cereal last year, when the Vanilla Cluster Cereal boxes at New World used to charm me with their glossy white fronts, delicious pictures splashed across them… promises of good mornings conveyed silently through something mysterious. Something in between attractive packaging and sweet crunchy clusters.

When I moved to Singapore last year for awhile, I spent $14 on a box of muesli at an expat supermarkets and never got through even half of it in a month. It didn’t ‘hit the spot’, and I either had pau (buns) or noodles and soy milk for breakfast, or nothing at all when I was rushing out the door to spend 1.5 hours in the bus and train to get to work.

Back in New Zealand, cereal and milk in a bowl seems like a good idea again.

It seemed appropriate to begin this gusty, grey Saturday with granola making…

The most time-consuming part of this was chopping the almonds; besides this, the recipe was a breeze to replicate. Even though I underestimated the time the cereal would take to cool down, and the chocolate bits are melting amidst the oats and almonds as a result…

Anyway, I have a bowl of sweet, crunchy, lovely lovely granola sitting on my kitchen bench.

The grey skies aren’t as dismal now.

Welcome to a beautiful day in Wellington!

    French chocolate granola
    Recipe adapted from Orangette
    3 cups rolled oats
    1/2 cup dessert almonds, chopped
    1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    2 tbsp granulated sugar
    pinch of salt
    6 tbsp mild honey
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    3/4 cup chocolate drops
    Preheat the oven to 150°C.

    In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, sugar, and salt. Stir well to blend.

    In a small saucepan, warm the honey and oil over low heat, whisking occasionally until the honey is loose. Pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine well.

    Spread the mixture evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for around 10 minutes, give it a good stir (to help it cook evenly) and put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until golden. When it’s ready, remove the pan from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and cool completely.

    When cool, transfer the granola to a large bowl, storage jar, or zip-loc plastic bag. Add the chocolate, and stir (or shake, if using a jar or bag) to mix.

    Store in an airtight container. Serve with plain milk; soy milk and plain yogurt overwhelm the chocolate flavour.

    Yields around 5 cups.

While it’s in your cone

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it’s on your plate.
~ Thornton Wilder

Summer is the time for wading in water amongst cockle shells and getting lost in tree canopies and car trips with the windows down and skipping across smooth sandy beaches and feeling the lovely sun and chomping on melting donuts and buying plenty of lickalicious ice cream…

I think ice cream is the most dangerous one of all so far… surely 5 ice creams in 2 days is a sin…

*Pictured above: real fruit ice cream with strawberries, blackberries and pineapple blended into vanilla ice cream.

I’m typing this in the dark, while watching cricket

After eating chocolate you feel godlike, as though you can conquer enemies, lead armies, entice lovers.
~ Emily Luchetti

At this hour, I can’t remember why I am doing a cook-through-a-cookbook project and worse, blogging about it now, at midnight when the lights are off and I am touch-typing while John and Jono are sensibly sleeping and Matt is sleepily watching cricket here.

On account of my current sleepy brain, swiftly curtaining eyelids and strange inclination to blog anyway, I can’t come up with a smart sassy title or promise a coherent post.

Twas a busy day at work – and I was well ready to start cooking in the kitchen by the time I came home! I invited Jian & Nish round, and Char came too – so we bustled around in the kitchen and Jian helped me to take photos before we all sat ourselves down for dinner with my flatties and the things you talk and laugh about while eating fish, then chocolate. Tonight’s attempts from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:

#24 Triglie Al Pomodoro (Red Mullet with Tomatoes) – Page 312
#25 Baked Chocolate Puddings – Page 370

Made the puddings first. Dessert first is just a novel way to go about things… especially when there are chocolates and ramekins involved…

I still struggle to know when beaten egg whites have reached the stage of being “soft peaks”? Mine emerged frothier than my last bubble bath and as they folded in to the chocolate mixture like ugly rubble I was disheartened. Spooned the mix into ramekins anyway and popped them into the oven, toes and fingers crossed…

(Oh, and with no caster sugar at home, I used a little muscavado sugar and normal white sugar instead.)

40 minutes later, they emerged a little like chocolate-flavoured creme brulee, soft, mellow and slightly custardy within with a very slight crust on top. Sweet. A good conclusion to dinner. Nearly perfect… I think I would make these again.

(And yes, we were good kids and ate them after dinner)

Icing sugar carpets do make all things better too.

As for the fish, it ended up looking nothing like the picture, of course. I had to substitute red mullet (which New World had none of) for monkfish. And besides the capers, olives, tinned tomatoes and garlic the recipe called for, I added some sugar, basil, oregano, more salt & pepper – resulting in nicely flavoured monkfish with a good sauce that could coat pasta or bread nicely.

Dinner was served with pesto-ed pasta and a side salad of mesclun, spinach, orange + red capsicum, red onion, orange zest, orange cubes and kiwifruit slices.

Fun times… always so, with cooking and friends and sun streaming through the windows. And now it really is time for bed, since I am getting up early for a nice Saturday day-trip… good night!