Monday, January 26, 2009

Shrimps! In a salad.

Summers the only time to eat salads. You got to eat so many that you are really sick of them by the end of march and are really looking forward to some steamed broccoli and roast veg. So here I treat I you all to another photograph of my dinner. Its becoming a theme I know, but at least my mum can see I'm looking after myself!

My shrimps look a bit insipid because I only had frozen cooked shrimps. I usually chuck them in asian style soups but I hadn't done any shopping so they had to be dinner.

Oh and I tried that frozen guacamole by Watties. Ewww. I will not be buying again. Its so salty and disgusting.

Indian Tonic Water - IT GLOWS! - thanks to the magic of quinine

Good ol quinine, malaria prophylactic and tasty beverage all in one. While it would take huge amounts of tonic water everyday to get an antimalarial benefit, some people have found that drinking tonic water helps reduce chronic muscle cramps. While the side affects of too much quinine can include temporary deafness and renal failure the only side effects I've had are cool refreshment.
Quinine also absorbs UV light and will fluoresce under a UV light, its so sensitive you can see it fluoresce even in direct sunlight.

The one on the left with the cool blue tinge is the Indian Tonic water. The one on the right is plain water for comparison. Both have ice because I've been out gardening and I'm not going to drink warm tonic water for the sake of demonstrating fluorescence.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Okay I'm not about to come down on anyone for obsessing over books. (I have a major Robin Hobb fandom thing going.)

However I saw Twilight and I was puzzled. The major attraction of Edward to Bella seemed to be that she smelled delicious and he wanted to eat her. In fact, he had to run out of the room to avoid taking a bite. Kind of like me when there are free doughnuts at work. Anyway so Bella might as well have been a cheesecake. That's the attraction, yumminess?

That doesn't seem so romantic to me. Maybe its because I'm not 14? meh. I'll read the book as long as I don't have to buy it, of course this review of twilight left me feeling like I'd already read it. Some of the dialogue from the book seems a bit harlequin romance to me "his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare." Is that why the teens like it? I suppose book four where they finally "get it on" will have all sorts of references to palid turgid manhood. Bleh.

Don't get me wrong I like a vampire theme, I have really enjoyed "True Blood" the TV series and one of the books I got my hands on.A small town mystery written with a light touch, but with adult themes, vampires, a page turner, read in an afternoon kind of thing.
Sookie Stackhouse Set
So I have been lusting after the complete set of books, Seven books for $107 eek. Its on my fishpond wish list for the next time they have a big sale. It seems to be the only series I can't find at the local library too :-( . I've read other books by Charlaine Harris, The Aurora Teagarden (sheesh what a name) series, about a small town librarian who solves crime, well murders mostly. In fact Charlaine Harris also writes lots of other books all about strong women, doing their woman heroine thing in a quiet way. The characters in her books don't see it as any big deal, they are just living their lives. Maybe that's why I like her books so much.

And maybe that's the secret to why I found Twilight so disappointing? Bella was just so blah. So instantly "I can't live without you!!!" "You are my everything" "I'll be nothing without you" in love with Edward. Needy and co-dependant are not qualities I enjoy seeing in young women, esp not in a movie character watched and idolised by millions of girls.

Keeping that summer holiday vibe going.

This morning I woke poor Zed up before 8 and packed a picnic breakfast. Then we took the winding drive out to Piha. I'm glad we went early, the roads were empty, the beach was quiet and it wasn't deadly hot yet. We sat on the beach watching the early surfers and ate our ham and egg sandwiches. Then we walked piha, grabbed a coffee and drove over to Karekare. Jeebus that road down to Karekare, how scary is that! Munter Aucklanders in their 4 wheel drives who seem to have no idea about keeping left on a one lane road. Dumb arses.
Anyway here's a picture of Piha, taken with my cellphone. I really need to get a little pocket camera, our cameras good, but its big and a pain to take anywhere.

There were quite a few properties for sale, if I had funds I would definitely get a place out there. That's what life should be, living in a bach by the sea, waking each morning to the sound of waves, swimming everyday. Tending a native garden and working to protect the local environment. I think the Waitakeries are amazing, to have those hills, covered in native bush so close to Auckland city, its a real treasure. Hopefully we can keep it protected from over development.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Summer Dinners - Wish you were here?

Chicken, marinated overnight in honey, ginger and a wee bit of lemon juice. I may have over cooked it a wee bit getting a little more caramelising than necessary, but still very tasty. I will look back on this picture in winter (when I am eating my turnip stew) and remember the bright fresh tastes of summer. I'm sure all my London friends suffering the cold drippy weather are blue with envy.

Picked up a kilo of cherries today for $5. Got to love the Asian grocer, tucked away in an odd corner of the north shore, full of weird and wonderful things. And lots of mushrooms!

First week back at work is over and done, always a bit of a shocker. So much purchasing to catch up on. Spending your tax dollars is always fun. I spent about $5000 on antibodies for diagnosing different types of cancers. That buys me about 5 x 1ml lots of concentrated antibody. Its expensive stuff.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An abundance of cucumbers

I have many many apple cucumbers to get through over the next couple of weeks, apart for the usual chop and throw in salad method of eating cucumber I thought I would try something different.
Thick cut slices of fresh just picked oh so crisp cucumber, sprinkled with fresh herbs from my garden and topped with a light mustard mayonnaise. Yummy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

uh oh - Holiday Indulgences!

Oooooops. I may have accidentally imbibed too much beer and consumed too much crap over the holidays. I prefer not to cook when I'm on holiday and Zed prefers not to cook. So we ate out, a lot.
Now its come back to bite me on my rather large arse.

So its back to home cooked meals and one alcohol free month, barring any social functions of course. No more drinking beers in the garden at 11am just because its hot, and I planted a cucumber. Even though I think it a mighty fine reason to open a cold one.

So here is my first home cooked meal in a long time. A lovely piece of lamb, rubbed with Moroccan spice mix, and cooked in a hot fry pan for two minutes each side.

Then rested.

Sliced and laid upon a salad, a salad with MANGO! Mu hu ha ha haaaaa.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cherry Tomatoes

I mostly planted cherry tomatoes this year, a yellow variety and a red one. They are just starting to ripen on the plant now, but for the last week or so I've been picking any that show the slightest hint of colour and they ripen fairly quickly on the windowsill in my kitchen. Only problem is every time I spot a ripe one I eat it! So I've never managed to build up a decent stash of them to put in a salad. Any day now I should be swamped with ripe one though and I have three roma tomato plants that will be ready in a week or two. Ah tomato heaven!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Highly ineffectual.

That's how I would describe my feelings on all world situations I disagree with. Apart from donating to the Red Cross or Women for Women International every time a war breaks out, what can I do? Just feeling bad about it doesn't really cut it. How does my pity and sympathy help anyone in these terrible situations?

The history of Palestine's gradual demise (invasion) is not something I'll claim to fully understand, and half the time I wonder what kind of merry rabbit hole I'm being led down by the media. But who can watch this on TV every night and not feel like something should be done! They bombed the UN headquarters in Gaza, all the food and medicine up in flames. Why isn't stronger action being taken?

In New Zealand everyone is all upset about a Muslim kebab shop owner who kicked two Israeli women out of his shop. Here it violates our human rights laws, but maybe we need, on an international level to kick Israel out of the shop. Wide reaching economic sanctions? Would this do anything to halt the violence?

Here is a viewpoint on the Palestine/Israel issue printed in 1948, it should be required reading for every American supporter of Israel.

Its Spacewars?

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yo dis my garden, word

Okay so i started digging up the lawn for more garden space, and then I had a thought.
The lawn mower man.
He mows with out prejudice.
So I got a build on and made a frame for a raised garden bed. I was going to use macrocarpa sleepers, (non treated and don't rot so quick) but then I saw they were $22 each! So I just bought some cheap arse pine instead. So that's my garden frame for less than $15 and built all by myself!
Because it was built mostly to protect my current plantings I haven't turned over all the soil or filled it to the brim with glorious compost, I figure I'll do that over winter, but for now it will protect my squash from being mowed over.

As a bonus a picture of the top of my bookshelf. My house is kinda weird. Sheep, painting of piha and flower box light things. Eclectic. That's how I roll!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Best Gardening for Beginners/Dummies Book

One Magic Square: Food Plot Designs for All Seasons in Temperate Climates

My mother, bless her, got me this book for christmas because I was moaning that I only had a pathetic little square metre to grow my veges in. I felt like I couldn't do much with it. But this books changes that! I love it so much because it makes me believe I can be a gardener all year round growing heaps of food. I seriously take it to bed and read it to get all inspired for more digging and more planting. I've read it 3 or 4 times now! Best gardening book ever!

It starts you off with a 1 metre square plot (so easy!). You start by planting fast growing salad stuff and while that gets you going you've got a bit of time to flick through all the other parts of the book and plan your next move.

Plots are sorted by type and season, e.g there is the autumn winter stir fry fry plot, the summer stir fry plot, the pick and come again plot and my favourite, the summer Aztec plot. You grow corn, then you then grow beans up the corn and all the while have squash growing along the ground keeping the roots cool, stopping the earth from drying out.

Its got lots of advice on how to condition the soil, how to compost and look out for pests. Written in a grandmotherly way (giving advice to her adult grandchildren on gardening perhaps?) its a light read with no blah blah jargon, it does use a few acronyms but they are explained to you in the first few pages.

The book was written for Australia but I believe it would work well for any warmer part of NZ. Highly recommended its the best gardening book for beginners I've ever read!

FLuck you internets

Load obnoxius ad that plays when I land on your site and EVERY time I bounce back to the homepage?

NO! No! Bad Internets! NO! No traffic for you!

A Summer Reflection

Summer; where you can hop in a boat late afternoon, zoom to an island for a swim and dinner and zoom back before it gets dark. What could be better, it was part of a perfect little holiday up north which included visiting my mother, entertaining the teenage stepkids and visiting my grandparents.I love being up north, my grandparents bach is a great place to chill and my mums place is surrounded by and amazing vege garden (I am envious everytime I see it) and a swimming pool.
I'm quite lucky, because when my mum gets sick of me I can go visit my gran and when they get sick of me I can go back to my mums ;-)

This carpet of pungas is what you look out over at my grandparents place. When I was young I used to think maybe I could jump of the deck and walk around on them. Just as well I was too sensible for that!

Dylan appeared out of the great beyond and I caught up with him at Mums place for her birthday. Been a while since I've seen my little brother. And my mum sorted me out with a proper guava tree, the kind we used have in hall road. Every now and then the wood pigeons would plonk themselves down in it and eat quavas all afternoon. I've seen a few round here, so maybe I'll get a few garden visitors.

Friday, January 02, 2009

its hot.

Yesterday was hot, todays hot. The first real hot for me this summer anyway.

I'm drinking some oyster bay sav blanc, but its not really helping. The stuff is almost warm by the time I take my last mouthful and the condensation caused by the excess humidity is killing my desk.

I'm sweatin' too. I quite like getting a sweat on, makes me feel like I'm alive! Nothing like getting all stinky to remind your of your biological processes.