Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Gardening can make bad days at work slightly more bearable.

That's me in my garden attire, snapped by Matt while planting some spuds for Christmas (planting potatoes really just means digging a trench and throwing in some sprouting old spuds from our spud bin - it worked last year!).

Despite my initial reservations, the garden is going gangbusters:

This week I harvested my first veges - the chinese cabbage and a few leaves of spinach. I chose to ignore the little hole punches in the leaves - I didn't actually see any slugs or bugs.

I also threw in some peas and plenty of lettuces to keep us going.

Coming home and watering the garden is such a peaceful way to end a shite day at work. Speaking of work, my impending unemployment has been brought forward to this Friday!! Hoorah!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Labour Day shenanigans

Today was labour day which means that not only did I not go to work (cos I don't work Mondays no more), but neither did Matt. It was a stunning day and we decided to walk over the Bridle Path.

The Bridle Path used to be the only traverse between Lyttelton and Christchurch back in the olden days. Now it is chock full of crazy exercise types running and on bikes... and people like me (puffing and cursing and sweating).

We both walked to the top without incident (although I could hardly utter a word I was so puffed), then Matt and Boo descended into Lyttelton at a run. I waited at the top of the hill and got this piccie of them on the way up again:

Even Boo was tired at the end.

The day was nuts though in terms of weather. In the afternoon all we could do was sit around and drink. I had my first Vodka and bitters of the season. Yummo. I garnished it with some lemon balm that I found desperately trying to survive in the old herb garden.

And in case you're wondering, the glass is a Utility Glass made by Jonathan Baskett. We have about eight, all different colours and they are wicked.


ps only 5 working days left before the Summer of Gin begins (although I discovered Pimm's on the weekend and I think a fair amount of that will be drunk this summer too).

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Another productive Sunday...

Yes, another fine Sunday. It kicked off with an open home for a Peter Beaven house in Christchurch - the house was perfect, almost completely original and a wonderful section with plenty of room for my requisite vege patch. However, it sits right on a REALLY busy road which would be hard to conceal, and is kind of on the wrong side of town. We shall see.

Then it was off home for a lie in the sun (sampling my pickled onions) and a gin.

I have on a bit of a mission to use up all the hoarded fabric I have lying around. I have made plenty of cushions and quite a few shoulder bags, but for the less attractive samples my mum actually gave me the idea of making oven cloths/mits. Just take lots of layers of fabric, quilt together, finish with bias binding and..

viola! a new oven cloth.

Methinks these will make excellent (and cheap) Christmas presents for the ladies I know (cheap is becoming increasingly important given my impending unemployment).

Last weekend Dot and Godfrey visited Gisborne and brought back with them a bag of oranges for us. I used some last week when I made a fennel, sorrel and orange salad (didn't take a photo, but it was AWESOME). I used some more this afternoon to make Matt, Tim and Matt some orange cakes with lemon icing.


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A Spanish-loving New Zealander from Japan

There's a new nightspot in Christchurch, and it's set to become our fav. Never before have we seen anything like this.

It's called Antonio's and it sits at the end of a dodgy little arcade in town. It's only slightly larger than our bathroom and has a tiny bar with 4 bar stools and a keyboard set up at the end.

Antonio himself is a humble man. Originating in Osaka he has lived in New Zealand for several years now (he has set up our bestest eatery "Osaka" which lies in the same arcade), and has twice traveled to Spain for several months at a time.

He loves Spain, and so the wall is adorned with photos of Antonio at the bullfighting, Antonio eating tapas, Antonio with his Spanish teacher.....

But, the best part about Antonio's is that he is always there, always friendly, and ALWAYS happy to turn the music off and entertain you with a ditty on his electronic piano.

Ah Antonio, you Spanish-loving New Zealander from Japan, whatever will you think of next?

Sunday, 12 October 2008

The French Festival

We drove over to Akaroa to the French festival this weekend. We arrived on Friday night to a lovely evening, had some horrendously expensive fish and chips and then a few gins. The French festivities were on Saturday, there was a parade, some dodgy period costume and a couple of entertaining cooking classes. The highlights though, were the lovely Citroen DS in the parade:

and the Three Boys beer garden:

Boo thoroughly enjoyed herself too, there was plenty for her to see and do, and it was a great opportunity to brush up on her French. Although she's not a Dogue de Bordeaux or a French Bulldog, there's something decidedly French about her... I can't quite put my finger on it..


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

We didn't think our carbon footprint was big enough...

Matt's car from Melbourne is finally on the road here, it's taken nearly 2 years, but the wait was worth it. Boo is very excited about the sporty new addition - although she's a bit miffed that there's no rear window for her to put her head out of while we're driving.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Boo blogs again!

For some reason, Lil didn't go to work today, even though it was a Monday. I was delighted to be woken by her and taken down to Waikuku beach for an early morning stroll. The sky was clear, the air was warm and there were plenty of smells.

After a bit of a sniff, I started my high-speed-early-morning-feel-like-a-puppy runaround. Lil took some great action shots:

Then back to sniffing.

It's hard to believe there's still snow on those mountains when it's so warm and sunny.

Colonel Boo Boo xx

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Adventures in our garden

In the past week, our asparagus has started to sprout. I've never know much about how asparagus grows and in our current abode I don't need to - it just does. It seems that every October when the weather starts to warm, spears of asparagus just start to pop up out of the ground in the flower/weed bed in front of our kitchen window.

There is also a patch which grows underneath the washing line, and another in amongst the mint. They grow so fast - every evening you can go out and pick a new bunch which seriously did not exist the evening before. Crazy.

Whilst fossicking in the garden tonight for asparagus, I had a hunt around to see if there were any winter vegetables still loitering, or wild vegetables which seem to appear at this time of year. I was delighted to find some silverbeet (some leaves looking like they may have been recently munched by slugs):

..and even more pleasantly surprised to see that some sorrel had reared it's head for spring:

I had some fresh fish in the fridge (say THAT 7 times without getting tongue tied!) and so scouted out some herbs from my newly planted potted herb garden:

Turns out the placement of my original herb garden wasn't particularly clever as when we had our floods in winter the entire garden was submerged in water and remained so for over 3 weeks. Bad news for the herbs, but now it's less wet the clover and twitch have thrived!

So I picked some dill, chives and parsley and harvested some chervil from the kitchen window (which is looking super in my plant pot from bison that Matt brought back from his trip to Sydney).

These I baked with the fish, squeezed over some lemon (picked in Kaiteriteri during our recent visit) and here you have it - cod baked with fines herbes, fresh silverbeet and asparagus, garnished with sorrel leaves.

The perfect Sunday supper. Matt was suitably impressed.