Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Vietnam comes to Sefton

Matt wanted me to post a photo of the Vietnamese dinner I made him the other night - I planted some Vietnamese mint not long ago and also have Asian cabbages in the garden so it ended up tasting just like the food we used to order at Thy Thy in Melbourne.... rice paper spring rolls, dumplings (steamed and fried) and a chicken coleslaw with a Vietnamese mint and lime dressing.
Yummo. Perfect for a warm summer night (although the champagne we drank with it sort of clashed with the whole Vietnamese thing.

'Twas the blog before Christmas...

I put my hand up this year to provide the potatoes for Christmas dinner (yes, even though we live in the Southern Hemisphere and it is the middle of summer we still have a cooked lunch on Christmas day).... I planted them some weeks ago using some old spuds that had sprouted in the pantry (the banner above is me planting out spuds with Boo)... well they have reached an enormous size:

...and so this morning I went out and discovered what lay underneath... lots of spuds!!

Fortunately I won't be letting the side down in the potato department. I also picked anything else which was ready and so got some fennel and beetroot for a yummy salad (I'm thinking with some yoghurt and fresh mint)..

On Sunday night I saw Jamie Oliver make some Christmas mince pies and so when mum had some mince pie filling left over I stole some and had a go at making them myself. Instead of shortcrust pastry they use filo and puff pastry and you kind of make a tray of pies that you break up into individual portions.

I am too scared to try one, I'm going to wait until Christmas day.

I hope you too have some yummy treats in store for the next couple of days....Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Summer southerly

Sad herb garden...

...sad cows...

...sad Boo...

It's a sad day all round when a southerly sweeps through in mid December (actually the herb garden isn't that sad because it actually quite likes the rain).

Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas countdown...

Well we are definitely on the slippery downhill slide towards Christmas, and I think I have finally finished my pre-Chrissy production line. Present are all sewn, knitted, baked and preserved - they just need wrapping and delivering. The final installment in the kitchen was another round of my peach and ginger chutney (which is so yummo with curry) and my first ever batch of boysenberry jam, which turned out quite yummy but nice and tart and boysenberry like.

I had to spruce things up a bit for those jars being given as presents so used pieces of fabric cut form Matt's old business shirts to tie onto the lids with string. I thought they turned out pretty good.

I also embarked on cleaning the house and in particular the spare room/sewing room/office, which was no mean feat. It has taken me TWO DAYS to achieve this. That is a lot of cleaning.

But now I am truly ready for Christmas. Bring it on baby.

For some pre-Christmas cheer then go to my current favourite blog . But be warned there is frequent use of expletives on this site.

And finally, for those you have asked, Farmer Godfrey did indeed come and fix the piano situation. Not before he created an additional hole in the floor with his own foot however (which made me feel better). The piano is now propped up on sturdy blocks of wood (which makes it slightly too high so that when I play I feel a little like I am seven again cos I have to reach up towards the keys) and seems to have escaped unscathed.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Tar-struck Monty

Letter to the Editor in the Christchurch Press on Saturday:

Monty has six black tarry stones stuck to his tummy fur.

He picks his way over the shingle-strewn driveway of his home in Birdwood Avenue, Beckenham. His owner is out there with a yard broom. The acrid fumes of hot tar are choking in the 24-degree heat.

A huge truck dumps another load of coarse, sharp shingle. The noise is horrendous. Flying gritty black dust blasts shrubs, lawns, driveways, house windows and walls. Monty bolts.

Inside his neighbour's place he settles between the black tar blobs on the carpet. With his sharp teeth he tugs at a black tarry stone embedded in his tummy fur. Slowly, painfully, he hauls it off with a plume of soft grey fur attached.

Monty has five black tarry stones stuck to his tummy fur.

N. Elphinston. Beckenham
What is he saying? Is he complaining about the road works? Or that his neighbour's pet keeps coming into this house? I Monty a cat? dog? mouse? Who knows, but I'm certainly looking forward to the next installment from N. Elphinston.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas Party

Golly gosh, that was the worst illness I have had in forever. Five days of pain then finally this morning my tummy has stilled somewhat and I can eat again. Hoorah. I hardly left the house and almost missed the Sons & Co work Christmas party but then Matt told me what they'd planned and I had to go along. Basically there were Matt and Tim, the two programmers and their partners and the cleaner and her partner (and their little boy)...and it started out simply as wine and cheese in the office for an hour or so. Just as things were getting uncomfortably lame, Matt invited everyone downstairs.......which is an abandoned photography studio. They had set it all up for dinner and had a band (The Eastern) playing in the corner. It was crazy. Dinner was put on by Indochine who are just next door, so the waiters came through and took our orders as if we were sitting in the restaurant. Nutso. Shame I couldn't really eat. I had a nice prawn dumpling that stayed down though. Sorry about the dodgy video work, but you get the idea.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Other tales of late...

Firstly, to those of you who reside in Auckland and who I failed to inform of my whirlwind Kylie related visit, I'm sorry, nothing personal just no time, no time. If it's any consolation Karma has caught up with me and I now have some sort of nausea-and-back-pain virus that means I cannot sit upright for long periods and I cannot lie down for long periods. very uncool indeed.

In more uplifting news, when I returned from the north, I found that our garden had given me some presents...

...several large heads of broccoli:

...and one large cabbage:

Cauliflowers are on their way. I forgot that the thing about brassicas like these is that they all mature at the same time, so we have 8 broccolis to eat in the next week which is quite a lot. I am going to consult the recipe books to find some sort of broccoli preserve so that they don't go to waste.

And in very concerning (but I am choosing to put it in the back of my mind) news...yesterday I came into the house to discover that my piano was on quite a pitch - turns out it is slowly falling through the 78 year old floor of our house. Not cool. When Matt got home from work we tried to right it again but in my nauseous-backpain state I could not help and together we had no chance. So, we have tried to support it with lots of blankets while we decide what to do. We may get farmer Godfrey's assistance with moving it but are not sure where to put it...the sooner we find a new house the better.

Be strong piano, don't fall yet.

Miss Minogue

Oh Kylie, you were everything I had dreamed you'd be, and more. Six costume changes (all Jean Paul Gaultier), a dance troupe of 10 strapping men, dry ice, glitter showering the crowd, a backing band reminiscent of the Holograms, a visual extravaganza of projected imagery. I didn't even mind that we were in the 3rd to back row of 10 000 people.

I thought you might play a few more of your older songs for those of us who have been waiting 21 years for your visit, but that's ok, I understand how boring it must get, and I did appreciate "I Should Be So Lucky" as your final encore.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Passing time

Summer is SO here. It is always warm and the soles of my feet are stained a dirty brown. However my industrious time off has been stalled by this book:

It is a great read - well written and interesting and all but it is SO LONG. Like, nearly 1500 pages. That's heaps. And you can see my bookmark - I'm only a third of the way through! I am sure Vikram could have condensed it into a 700 page job. Hmph. Anyway, I tried to make some muffins a couple of weeks back and I failed dismally. Turns out the Edmond's muffin recipe isn't all it's cracked up to be. But the other day I stumbled across a recipe for ginger, chocolate and banana muffins and folks, we have a winner... bang on.

They look a little pale and under cooked but they were fine. Yummy. Today I made another batch - this time rhubarb and chocolate.

It is great having enough time to do things like stuffing a shoulder of lamb for dinner....spinach (from the garden), mint (from the garden), basil, feta, pine nuts, almonds and garlic. Yummo. Matt will be pleased.