Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The post before Christmas

This is probably going to be the last post before Christmas...I hope everyone is ready. I have been baking and cleaning like a mad woman. I picked a giant bucket of broad beans for a salad on Christmas day, but forgot to take a photo before I shipped them off to Akaroa..

I have been extra busy completing all my craft projects, I've finished the February Lady Sweater, the quilt and another bear. The latter two are shown below. I have to say I am damn proud of the quilt - it has turned out much lovelier than I expected. I got some construction tips from a post at Wise Craft, and I do think they made things work out better than if I'd followed my usual approach, so thanks Blair.

It still feels as though I am ages away from finishing everything I've got on, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually. January I going to be super busy as I am working all month, and we have to paint our new house, not to mention moving... I have already packed up most of our stuff, the house looks nice and clean and uncluttered.

Anyways, I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and New Year....

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Our next home....?

In March Matt and I visited this house, under the premise of research for Christchurch Modern. Nine months, endless heartache and some horrible negotiations later, we seem to have bought it.

It fits our criteria:
Matt's: 1960s, architecturally designed..
Lil's: a decent garden and enough room for Boo...

...but needs a fair amount of work as it has been more than neglected over the past 10 years.

Most sensible peeps have been telling us to stay away from it and and all the work that needs doing, but we love it too much and so we are going to give it a go. It's either going to be the best thing we ever did, or the biggest mistake we've ever made. Country living has been wonderful, but we both now feel too isolated and there is no way we can do another winter out here.

We shan't be moving for at least another 7-8 weeks, but have started packing like crazy. Bring.It. On.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Hi Pot! We're Home!

The theme for My Place & Yours this week is - what object makes your house feel like a home? It has taken a fair amount of thought for this one, but I'm going to go with Pot. I considered Boo, but Boo comes with us everywhere, including on holiday, so just cos she's there, doesn't mean we're home. But Pot, without her, we just wouldn't feel like we were home...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Feel Good Fuzzies

Aw, just look at that - a family of ducks resting by the Avon...

How can that not make you smile? And another thing that made us smile today - while we were having lunch on a cafe balcony, we peered down to see Boo doing her impression of a dead dog:

She does it so well - throughout our lunch people kept stopping and bending over and checking that she was ok. Cheeky monkey,

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

It's summer....apparently.

The first two days of summer have been very disappointing - it has rained all day for both days, and I have had to have the heater on inside all day. Once or twice a week Matt takes Boo into the office, so I can potter about at home without the constant guilt that I am not devoting my entire day to entertaining her. Today was one of those days and with the truly unseasonal weather I spent it entirely indoors doing winter type activities. Such as working on my quilt. This afternoon I put my head down and got all of the front side sewn together in one hit. The dreary day means the photos aren't very good, but you get the general idea:

I'm pretty happy with it - I'm not a very experienced quilt maker and didn't consult any books or anything, I figure it's just a matter of making lots of different size squares and making sure they sew together to form a large rectangle. And although it is immensely satisfying to have finished the front panel, given I haven't actually started the "quilting" yet, I suspect the hardest part is still to come.

And to top the day off, I made a citrus slice for afternoon tea (and Matt's dessert)...

Wicked. Now if summer could just show up tomorrow I will be happy....

Sunday, 29 November 2009

That's nice, that's different, that's unusual...

This week's theme at My Place & Yours is "that's nice, that's different, that's unusual", with a focus on quirky features in our homes. I picked a couple of things - the first one being what looks like an unassuming cupboard door in the kitchen:

But is actually a meat safe....a ventilated cupboard originally intended for storing meat (ie before fridges existed).

It lets in a lovely freezing draft in winter, and is currently residence to an extended family of spiders.

Our second quirky feature is one which we use all the time and I personally think is brilliant - it was made by the farmer who built the house for himself and his family. It's a wall mounted dish rack:

It is so strong and frees up bench space (important when bench space is at a premium)....

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Trip down memory lane...

Does anyone remember Tatties? They were little hard potato things, that when deep fried turned into light, crisp, crunchy yumminess. I have been looking for them for ages, and thought they were gone, never to be seen again. .....until, I found them in Rangiora - at Bin Inn of all places!

Anyway, my afternoons are now often blessed with a bowl of salt-sprinkled Tatties. Yummo.

p.s. we lost the house so it's back to the drawing board. We were so close.....grrrr.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Monday funk

Monday again. So soon...it was muggy and hot today so I took Boo to Waikuku where it was hazy and warm.

We are anxiously awaiting news regarding a house which we desperately want but are so close to not getting.... and we may not know for sure until Wednesday. Until then, fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The quilt begins....

I sat down this afternoon and cut out the pieces for my quilt. There's always a bit of trepidation with the first cut, and I am definitely a little worried the whole concept will fall through, as I made up the pattern and layout myself. Not being a seasoned quilter, I'm sure this is unwise. But we'll see.

Unfortunately I need to get my sewing machine serviced before I can start the sewing process, but I still have plenty of other projects to keep my little hands busy.

Through the front door

When I get home, on a good day, this is what greets me. It's generally not this tidy, often Pot has dragged something woollen from our bedroom and deposited it on the floor in front of the door.

Although I try to have fresh flowers on the table as much as possible, it gets a bit hard in winter. The glass case mounted on the wall is our fuse-box and has our meters in there. So when the meter reader comes, he has to knock on the door and come in to check our readings.

The chalk board has a list of houses we would love to buy. Most of them have been crossed of as the owners have made it very clear they will not sell.

And that's it - my submission for this week's My Place and Yours....not very exciting I'm afraid.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Garden goodness - update

I went on a cleaning frenzy over the weekend - washed all the windows inside and out - the first time it's been done in the 3 years we've been living here.

While I was clambering around outside the windows of our spare room, I found this wee gem hiding in the corner. I've never noticed it in previous years - that's one very cool thing about where we live - the garden just does it's own thing, and every year new things seem to appear.

And another find yesterday - my strawberries have started to fruit.

My wild imagination made me think that home-grown strawberries would be giant and glossy and red and perfect, but then I remembered that store-bought ones are so genetically modified that nothing in real life can compare.

So mine are small and uneven, but they taste oh so delicious!

Friday, 13 November 2009


I have finished a project! This is Sefton the bear. He is a present for Arthur Brown, age approximately 14 days. I hope he likes.

You may recognise the yarn from this post - I figure so long as I finish about 1 project per week, I should keep ahead of my buying....

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

My secret weapon?

So this week's them for My Place & Yours is your secret weapon. Quite a tough one as I have never really considered anything I have to be a secret weapon in any sense. But after some thought, I decided that the closest thing I have is the Goddess.

She's not really a secret, but it's hard to drive her without smiling, especially if you look around and realise everyone else is smiling at you. Especially little kids aged between three and seven
- they like to point and grab their parent's sleeves and say "look at that car!"...

And she has been an essential weapon in the search for our perfect home - many of the possible houses have been found while driving the streets of Christchurch...

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The possibilities...

I bought 2 skeins of homespun wool this week, on some sort of whim (a pretty crazy whim actually, given that I already have one knitting project on the go, and the temperature outdoors is now reaching up into the twenties some days).

I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, except that some will go towards a little teddy bear for a friend's new baby (welcome to this world Arthur)...I can't believe how hard it is keeping up with all these newborns!

And I am getting myself in more of a pickle with regards to crafty projects as tomorrow is stash-rehash which I have had circled in my diary for weeks - bring on the new fabric!

Craft craziness!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Blog HQ

Meet Me At Mikes has a game going at the moment, with a weekly theme. This week's theme is blog HQ. To see where lots of other other peeps blog, then check out My Place & Yours. As for me:

For the most part, I write all my blogs (and read all the blogs I follow) here, ensconced on our sofa. It also happens to be where the bulk of my knitting gets done..

And for those of you waiting with excitement for this week's Lamb Wednesday dish, it was a lamb curried pot pie, and it was delicious. So delicious, that we ate it before I had taken a photo. Doh!

Monday, 2 November 2009


This is where we stayed in the Coromanel. It was so amazing, the weather was perfect and we were able to just sit around, enjoy the view and eat like pigs. It was even warm enough for a dip in the ocean.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Spring knitting project

Although it looks like a bit of a mess, this is my latest knitting project - the February Lady Sweater. It feels like ages since I knitted something challenging for myself, so it's nice to sink my teeth into this project. We're off to the Coromandel this weekend for some rest and relaxation - the place we're going has no internet or cell phone coverage which will be interesting as I honestly can't remember the last time Matt has had to do without either of these luxuries for more than a couple of ours at a time.

Happy Labour Weekend everyone.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Lamb Wednesday

Last night it was lamb shanks for Lamb Wednesday. I slow cooked them in merlot and made a wild rice and vegetable risotto/pilaf type thing. Not much meat on the shanks, but I think on the whole it was a success.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


I can't believe it's that time of year again - the asparagus has arrived! To compensate for a day of poor eating (on a whim, I made pikelets for afternoon tea - Matt and I ate 14 of them in about 3 minutes), I put together an asparagus, potato, egg and mint salad for dinner.

The asparagus is so fun and novel at this end of the season - it feels like such a treat and is so much fun to harvest. In about two weeks, we will be stockpiling it in the fridge and off-loading some to anyone who'll take it, but for now it's still delicious and new and fresh and a reminder that summer is just around the corner.

Friday, 9 October 2009

I think I might just stay inside by the fire today...

ISSUED BY MetService AT 8:06 am 09-Oct-2009

A deepening low over the Tasman Sea is expected to move towards northern New
Zealand today. A band of heavy rain and snow lies across northern South Island
areas and is moving slowly north.
Snow is already falling to low levels in
parts of Marlborough and Canterbury and is expected to continue for
much of today before easing this evening and clearing Saturday
Snowfalls of 25 to 35cm are expected down to about 400 metres today
with lesser falls to 200 metres, especially in inland valleys and

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Almost famous..

There was an article in yesterday's Press about Matt and Tim and Christchurch Modern. Nice photo (though hard to see here) and pretty nice article too....

Sunday, 4 October 2009

How did I miss this?

I don't remember the last time I ate French toast. It must have been years and years ago. So when Matt bought a loaf of bread home for dinner last night that we never ate, i woke this morning and decided to give French toast a crack (I can't remember when I last ate it, and I'm pretty sure I've never made it).

I made up a batter with eggs, cream, caster sugar and milk, and give it a go.

By crikey! How good is French toast? Man, I feel like I've been missing out on this. Why didn't anyone tell me it was so good? I ate 5 pieces, and for some reason the bread was lighter and easier to eat than before it was drenched in eggy goodness and fried. I totally could have kept eating.

We had some maple syrup, and I made some cinnamon sugar, and some yoghurt with honey and nutmeg. We both had the full range of condiments on each serving. Golly gosh, it was incredible. Miles better than the pancakes I usually make, and even nicer than my homemade crumpets.

I'm pretty certain these will feature again in our kitchen on another Sunday morning soon. Or maybe tomorrow, for a Monday morning treat?

Just hanging.

Boo hanging with the cool kids on High St on Friday evening.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

New Zealand's favourite recipe?

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, there is this competition on right now to find New Zealand's favourite recipe. The current number one recipe has been sitting in the prime position since shortly after the competition started (winners are based on votes, so the biggest deciding factor is not really how good your recipe is, but how many friends you can get to vote for you).

Anyway, I digress. The current winning recipe is for "Kristie's Ultimate White Choc Passionfruit Mudcake". Wowsers. Since it seems to be getting more and more votes, I decided to give it a crack.

Our oven is not the easiest to control, and I think I over cooked the cake slightly. It had a ganache type icing, which I tried to make before we drove into work yesterday, but for some reason it didn't set and so I had to take it in the car and ice the cake whilst moving.

It still never really set, so the cake looked all gooey and a bit sickly (the cake itself was pretty unhealthy, but the icing was pure evil - just cream and white chocolate with a touch of passionfruit).

The taste test results? Well, it was a bit dry which was totally my fault. I couldn't hack the topping, and after once piece of cake, couldn't bring myself to go back for more. Anyone who knows me well will know that this is a very bad sign, as I have been known to devour whole cakes which are only mediocre in quality just because I am so much of a cake monster. Everybody at Matt's work was polite, but nobody loved it.

I think Kristies sure has a lot of friends. I hope this isn't New Zealand's favourite recipe.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Lamb Wednesday

A month or so back, Godfrey dropped a plastic container at our back door which had half a hogget in it (for those not in the know, a hogget is like an old lamb...sometimes the lamb you buy at the supermarket is actually hogget). Anyways, I've been slowly getting through it, and have decided to commit one day a week (Wednesday) to cooking some lamb. So far we've had one roast, and a Moroccan tagine with prunes and pears.

This week I went for another roast:

It was all poked with sprigs of rosemary, and I made a fresh mint sauce (the old school kind with vinegar in it) to go with it:

It was pretty darn good, particularly the mint.

Next week, I'm thinking maybe some shanks.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Not Sunny Sunday

Spring is playing havoc with us. For a whole week it was warm (it even passed the 20 degree mark), then suddenly we're back in the single figures. Bleak and cold all weekend. We still have to light the fire every day, and just when I thought I'd seen the last of long sleeved wool tops....it's all on again.

Not much to do except eat and stay in bed. Today we went for a drive up around Godley Heads, after lunch in Lyttelton. The view is always spectacular up there, whether it's sunny or not.

In other exciting news, we have just switched to daylight savings, which means it only gets dark at around 7.30pm, which makes everyone feel better and more like summer is just around the corner.

The competition to find New Zealand's favourite recipe is hotting up - and this week I'm going to attempt the current number one - a white chocolate and passionfruit cake. I'm not a fan of either flavour, but am going to give it a go and take it into the office for the boys to judge.

And in other happenings in the coming week, after a disappointing last couple of haircuts (the latest making me feel like some eighties wannabe - a bit like David Bowie's hair in Labyrinth), I have booked myself in for what is going to be the most expensive haircut I have ever had. I can't even admit how much it's going to cost, except to say that it is worth three of the haircuts I usually get. It better be bloody good. I'll let you know.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sunny Sunday

Boo and I enjoyed a lazy afternoon in the sun, on the lawn which Matt mowed yesterday - mmmm the smell of grass clippings...

It was so warm that I took the opportunity to give Boo a bath, something which definitely ranks as one of her all time least favourite things to happen (along with being tied up outside a shop without us, and having her bone taken from her just as the maggots start hatching).

To make the bath more bearable I usually reward her with some sort of chase or fetch game with her tennis ball, but unfortunately it was a victim of Matt's lawn mowing yesterday. The lady was not impressed:

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Nature in our kitchen.

In the corner of our kitchen window we have a resident spider (I call her Miss Spider). She is one of those fat black ones, that usually just sits up there watching us, and is seldom seen out and about. Well, the other day there was a large annoying blow fly buzzing around the kitchen (now that the weather has warmed up, the paddocks are being spread with effluent which tends to attract the flies). Anyways, despite my efforts to shoo the fly outside, it just wouldn't go, but, it did (unfortunately for it) land on Miss Spider's web.

Well, Miss Spider was out in a flash and murdered the fly in seconds. And I got it all on camera!

It was all over in a couple of minutes - Miss Spidey retreated and took the fly carcass with her. I thought that was the end of it, but this morning found this:

Hundreds of baby spiders hatching from the corner. Eeew! For some reason that crosses a line, and now I'm going to have to vacuum them all up (including Miss Spider - sorry lady, but you can't just come in and set up shop and have hundreds of babies).

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Satisfy that craving....

Well, this afternoon, after a particularly tiring 24 hours, I was struck by a huge craving for KFC (which doesn't happen often, but when it does it is a powerful thing and rarely abates until I've actually bought and eaten some drumsticks, only to be reminded of how foul it makes you feel immediately afterwards).

The more observant of you may remember that when we visited Oakland in March, we were big fans of the Bakesale Betty's and in particular her fired chicken sandwiches. This was a fact that Matt remembered, while I was in my KFC obsessed state. The wise man insisted we track down the ingredients and when we got home, I set about recreating that most amazing of fried chicken dishes.

It's a pretty full on recipe for me, involving marinating the chicken in buttermilk, and soaking onions in red wine vinegar, but it was worth the fiddly bits - two hours later I unveiled my attempt at Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich:

It was amazing, the fried chicken was crunchy and spicy and the coleslaw was fresh and crisp and just so yummy. I compared it to the photo I took in Oakland of the real deal, and I have to say that I really did do it justice.

Mmmm, crunchy fried chicken. Gone is my KFC craving, and even better - I don't have that post-KFC grossness feeling.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Summer Ragga-muffins

There is a competition on at the moment to find New Zealand's favourite recipe. It's run on a website but Trillion has added a link to a video of his entry....

He's not winning at the moment, but I was so inspired by the video, I thought I'd give them a go myself today.

Here's my result:

The verdict? I know that these muffins are supremely healthy (no lipids of any sort!), and are environmentally friendly in that they don't encourage dairy farming, or chicken farming, but the consistency is just a bit dense and heavy for me to actually put this at the top of the list as New Zealand's favourite recipe (I will concede that maybe my baking skills let me down rather than the recipe, but I have geenerally made mean muffins in the past).

Big ups for the video though, and I did actually vote for this recipe based on the video alone. Would I make them again? Maybe, but I don't think I could resist adding some butter..... and maybe cutting back on the fruit and vege....and I would definitely consider them if I was having special-needs guests for afternoon tea (dairy, nut or gluten intolerant ones).

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Spring has sprung...

Well, today was the first day of spring, and while I was in Auckland, the garden got itself ready to burst into the new season with great gusto.

My broad beans (above) are coming along swimmingly, and even Boo stopped for a moment to smell the daffodils (moments after this photo she actually put the whole flower into her mouth and tried to eat it)....