Friday, 8 November 2013


Sitting on our kitchen bench right now, hidden in a bowl, under a teatowel, is Herman the German...

He was a gift from a friend of mine, and actually looks like this:

In a week or two, with some tender loving care, some regular attention and lots of stirring, he will be ready to turn into Herman the German Friendship Cake. ..and also ready for me to pass on to someone else.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

My Friend Lid

Some children play with their toys, give them names and pretend they are real. Others have imaginary friends - wolves, monkeys, elephants.

My son has Lid. Lid is a plastic milk bottle top. 

Seriously, is that normal?

He says things like...

"I have two friends - Matthew, and my friend Lid".

"I am watching the dvd with my friend Lid"

"Have you met my friend Lid?"

"Mama! Say hello to my friend Lid!!"

Monday, 28 October 2013

Potatoes are the most exciting thing that has happened lately...

Things are a bit dull around here.

But today while weeding the bank around the back of the house, I discovered a treasure trove of spuds.

Honestly, that is the most exciting thing that has happened for a while!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Horse riding in the city

Friday was a good day. I did surgery on a hermaphrodite dog (so exciting), then on my way home I stopped the car to chat to a guy with a horse. He's a bit famous here in Christchurch - he showed up in the last 12 months, leading his horse around town, letting it graze in Latimer square, and generally just hanging.

So I stopped to say hi, and to meet his horse - a lovely bay mare. After a bit of a chat, he asked if I wanted a ride, gave me a leg up and off I went. The weird part was we were in the forecourt of the Shell petrol station on Moorhouse Ave. Made my week.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A few more city pics

When in town the other day, I took a few photos around Matt's old work...

The sound of demolition (grunch, grind, groan, hammer hammer hammer) still dominates. In amongst all the rubble and mess was the site of the PGG building where 18 people died - now a freshly mown lawn:

I think that's pretty nice. I hope they keep it like that.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Squashed flies

I made a 'fly cemetery' slice last week - I used to call these squashed fly biscuits. Dried fruit and apples sandwiched between two layers of shortbread.

The good-looking boys from Student Job Search who were labouring in a friend's garden particularly enjoyed them.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sons - then and now

I stole this photo off the's Matt old office, pre-quake. Looks pretty nice.  I went for a wee explore of that part of town the other day - and took a photo of the place now (below). You can tell it's the same place because of the parking meter machine, and the electrical box thingy that was sitting on outside of the right hand side of the building.

Otherwise, it's unrecognisable.  Not him, or his neighbours, or the places across the road. The buildings that are in that recent photo are all brand new. Some parts of the city have been completely wiped clean.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Holy shitballs

My baking reached new heights last night. It's Father's Day today, but we are going out tonight, so I made a special dinner last night - steak, red wine jus, celeriac mash....

Pretty nice.....BUT...the real stunner was dessert - my first Paris Brest

Nothing to do with boobies, this dessert was invented in France, to commemorate the Paris-Brest bicycle race in 1891.  The circular shape is supposed to represent a bike wheel...

Choux pastry, covered in almonds, filled with sweetened whipped cream. Farkin incredible.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, 30 August 2013


I spent a superb day up at Black Estate yesterday.  Stunning.

Friday, 23 August 2013


I was super lucky and was sent a madeleine tray last week.  I've made a few batches since then, with different recipes... they are crazy unhealthy, but oh so delicious.  We had the most amazing madeleines at Cumulus Inc in Melbourne - they were filled with lemon curd and I am going to try to recreate them (we have their cookbook) this weekend.

In other awesome news, I just watched Heathers. Boom.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

No more thinking

A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to trial a free box of home delivered organic fruit and veges. It was awesome. I was inspired, and have just set up a weekly delivery of a box. Every Thursday afternoon someone comes and drops off heaps of really fresh and yummy fruit and veges - only those in season, and mostly locally sourced.

I'm kind of indifferent when it comes to organics, but I like my veges to be seasonal, and fresh. And I hate shopping for them - deciding what to get, and how much blah blah blah.  We are in week two, and so far it's going great. We've had kale, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, yams, potatoes, kiwifruit, apples, oranges, bananas, nashis...

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cardamon tea cake

Just cos.

Aphid cleaning

I have a tray of small plants and herbs that sit on our windowsill. Unbeknownst to me, tiny little aphids have set up shop - thousands of them.

So one of my jobs last week was to take each plant, shake the aphids off, then spray them with slightly soapy water.  Sp far, it has worked well I think. I haven't seen any more anyway.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Thursday, 25 July 2013

You say potato...

At the dinner I attended last weekend, there was the most amazing potato and honey bread. Of all the dishes that night, it was actually my favourite. So, yesterday I tried to make my own version. 

I used this recipe (but without the saffron)...

Aside from being a bit on the dark side, it was pretty good. I was especially taken with the consistency of the bread we had on Saturday - it was half way between croissant and brioche.

My loaves yesterday did manage to have the same texture - yum yum yum.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hot off the needles

A black hoodie for Sylvia-Jean. No-one is too young for black in my opinion (in this case, 6 years old).

Sunday, 21 July 2013


I was privileged enough to attend a fundraiser last night for the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust - they are hoping to purchase one of Michael Parekowhai's bronze bulls - so amazing. They came to Christchurch last year and the exhibition was a total pick-me-up for the city - it will be AWESOME if we get it.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


I went to Tasmania and all I got was this photo of a seagull.  I take the worst photos. I was surrounded by amazing food and wine and art and this is the only passable photo. A seagull on the roof of the Roy Grounds building that is the entrance to MONA.

The gallery was amazing. Totally blew my mind. So much art, and so much great art. I was overwhelmed, and reckon I didn't even take in about a third of it (being a little hungover didn't help).

Sometime I am going to go back there and have another look.

We spent a couple of days in Melbourne on the way back - saw some friends, ate some food, drank some sherry.  Getting out of Christchurch is kind of great these days, and something we keep telling ourselves we should do more often.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Meringue mission - part three

Nocciola baci - hazelnut and chocolate meringues, sandwiched with Nutella.

The flavour was great, but they were a bit crispy, when I think a chewier meringue would have been better (my fault, for leaving them to cool too slowly - should have removed them from the oven a little sooner).

7/10.  Try harder next time.

Monday, 1 July 2013

I run.

Excuse the poor iPhone photo. I took it last week when I was running in Hagley park. Yep, running.  I started on June 3rd, and have been going for short runs 1-2 times a week since then. Which means it's official, cos that's, like, nearly a month.

Listening to music on my phone makes it easier, although I am a cheapskate, so just have to sift through what I have on my iTunes account (I don't have data, so don't stream) - generally music from the period of 1993 - 2002. Interspersed with Bad Jelly the Witch, or The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which are on there for the kid.

And when I pay off my credit card (damn you, online shopping), I am going to get myself some proper shoes (I called them sneakers the other day - apparently not the right term these days). I'm getting serious.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Meringue mission - part two

I rocked out the egg-beater the other night, for another try at meringues.  I went all chocolate-y this time, making a cocoa meringue, with chocolate chips.

And damn, they were fine.  Crispy and crunchy on the outside, but chewy and chocolate-y on the inside. Matt even said 'wow' when he ate one.

9/10 - near perfect.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


I have been studying a little bit in the past few years - working towards my Masters at a snail's pace. I am not even close.  And after a rethink, I have decided to pause the Masters, and instead sit my Membership exam in Feline Medicine.  A small step in the direction towards becoming a cat vet.

The exam is in June next year. There are no lectures or notes, just the exam. You basically have to know pretty much everything about cat stuff. I started the actual study a couple of weeks ago. It's awesome. Meow.

Monday, 24 June 2013


The moon has been a cracker. Our blind in our bedroom is getting repaired, so it has been shining in there the past couple of (clear) nights, keeping me awake.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Weather Bomb!

We have had some pretty crazy weather-times around here - the whole of NZ in fact. On Wednesday the supermarkets all sold out of bread, in preparation for a few days of hunkering down.  We hunkered. It rained. It blew. It snowed. It rained. It rained. It blew.

On Friday we woke to snow, and a fallen tree (above).

Yesterday we woke to rain, and sleet, and rain.

This morning we woke to this:

Such a welcome relief.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

I'm a sucker for a photo of a horse in a paddock

We spent the last 24 hours in Akaroa. Had an amazing dinner at The Little Bistro.  Walked up a steep hill.  Looked for crabs under the rocks at the beach.

Drove home today.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Earthquake city

A large part of the CBD is now accessible on foot, and earlier this week we took a stroll through what is left of the central part of town. Here is a photo dump (I am not even going to try to describe where these were taken - so few landmarks remain).