Friday, February 29, 2008

A new day, new possibilities

It's good to wake up to a new day :-)

Last week Janine very kindly gave me the Funky Blog award! My first award in the blogosphere! Wheee! So now the idea is to pass it on to:

Lara - for starting the XY card blog. Anyone who has had to think about making cards for the males in their lives will find this a useful resource! Submit some of your cards for display on this blog and we will all thank you.

themommykelly - who is currently on bedrest (since 12 weeks into her pregnancy). I know she can't respond etc, and hasn't blogged for a while but I personally have enjoyed her Flaunt It Friday meme, and am awaiting the next installment of her story when she was a novice nun.

It was difficult to choose! I enjoy reading quite a few blogs these days :-) To you I give the Pineapple Lump Marshmallow Egg prize for Pure Pleasure!
For someone who usually does not allow any chocolate with less than 60% cocoa solids pass her lips, I am a little embarrassed to confess that I am glad to see these back in the shops.

Yes, it galls me that Easter isn't until the end of March and we're already seeing merchandise for it. But I do like these things. And hot cross buns. So I bought some.
*Hangs head in shame*
I blame Janine for bringing these to my attention last year. Hee hee!

Sent my CV away to a job yesterday. Will wait and see what happens.

Mel asked for the Malay Beef Curry recipe so here it is. I actually made it on Tuesday as we had some unexpected visitors coming. It was good. It would have been better if I'd totally followed the recipe and browned all the spices as well as the onions. But I was in a hurry after my dramatic morning and wanted to get it all in the pot.

Malay Beef Curry
(from 100 Ways to use slow cookers and crockpots / by Simon & Alison Holst. Dunedin: Hyndman Publishing)
For 4-6 servings
1-1.2kg gravy beef, cubed
2 T gr. coriander
1 T gr. cumin
1-2 t chilli powder
2 t Chinese five spice
1 t turmeric
3 T canola oil
1 med. onion, quartered and sliced
4 cardamon pods, squashed
1 x 5cm cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
6 cloves
4 med. potatoes, cubed
3/4 cup coconut cream
1 cup boiling water
2 T cornflour or 1 T arrowroot
2-3 T lemon juice
1-2 t salt
1 cup frozen green beans or peas, optional

Turn slow cooker on to High to pre-heat.
Trin any obvious fat off the meat, cut into cubes then place in a bowl. Measure in the first 5 spices and toss everything together so meat is evenly coated with spice mixture.

Heat half the oil in the large frying pan. Add onion and cook until soft, then add half the spice-coated meat. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5 mins until meat is lightly browned, then transfer to slow cooker. Heat the remaining oil and brown rest of meat before adding to the slow cooker too.

Add whole spices, potatoes, coconut cream and water to the slow cooker. Stir to combine, then put on the lid and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Stir the cornflour or arrowroot and lemon juice together in small bowl and add to slow cooker, adding salt to taste. Turn slow cooker to HIGH and stir in peas/beans at this stage, and cook for 30 mins longer. Serve as is or over steamed rice accompanied by Malaysian roti.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

how well do you know your neighbours?

Yesterday I heard shouting and bad words from across the road. I looked out trying to see what was going on. Someone called out "Call an ambulance!". So I ran outside, dialling 111 as I went.

The man across the road had tried to hang himself. Some other neighbours, myself and his son tried to help. I was so glad to see the ambulance. He did not look very good at all.

Later, a policeman knocked on my door. I spent an hour with him giving a statement about what had happened. It seems there is more to it than an attempted suicide. I don't know exactly what, but I have some ideas. The constable told me he understood the man had survived but he didn't know what condition he was in.

A number of things spring to mind:

1) I need to update my First Aid certificate. I've done 2 courses and I knew what I could do, but being on the phone to the emergency services meant I couldn't physically do a lot except convey messages.
2) I need to get to know my neighbours better. Particularly the new folks next door.
3) I don't feel very safe at present and I want to get a fence for our front yard. Hopefully if I get this job I'm applying for, we can afford to do that. And afford to move house.

and 4) if you know someone who may be depressed, talk to them. Don't shut them out or stop visiting even if it is a chore and seems to be a wasted effort.

If they express thoughts of wanting to hurt themselves - GET HELP!

Ring Lifeline:
24 Hour telephone counselling
(09) 5222 999 within Auckland
0800 111 777 outside Auckland

Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Didn't do this last week and regretted it!

However, I did discover a new Dal recipe that is excellent. I plan to make some and freeze amounts for DH's lunches, accompanied by some boiled eggs.

Moong Dal Uttar Pradesh Style
200g yellow moong dal
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
2.5 cm square piece of fresh ginger, chopped
3 plump garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
8 curry leaves
1 tbsp butter or oil
Wash dal well, soak for 15 mins.
Bring 1 litre of water to the boil, add the dal along with the tomatoes, chilles, ginger, two thirds of the garlic, plus the cloves and tumeric. Return to the boil, add salt to taste. Cook for 30 mins. Remove from heat, whisk gently with an egg beater till the grains are mashed. Add the coriander and curry leaves, cook for 5 mins.
Heat the butter or oil (in a ladle, they suggest), add the remaining garlic and fry till golden. Pour in the dal. Consistency of dal should be like creamy soup.

Monday - Lamb chops marinaded in kiwifruit/soy sauce/garlic, roast pumpkin (a spud for DS) and spinach briefly stir-fried with garlic and a dash of fish sauce
Tuesday - Chicken honey mustard pie with salad
Wednesday - Malay Beef Curry in the crockpot
Thursday - Sweet chilli chicken in the crockpot, rice, green salad
Friday - chilli con carne (a la Nigella's Feast book), guacamole, tortillas, Galilee cheese
Saturday - Pumpkin seed pesto ravioli*, salad * might use ricotta instead of tofu since DH is not a fan
Sunday - Glass noodle soup with prawns, pork and mushrooms. Might make a jungle curry too if I feel like we need more.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Need some help...

Thinking of going back to work.. possibly in the school librarian area. I've been in tertiary libraries for a good 10 years now but I have worked in a school library for a couple of years so the scenario isn't foreign.


I'm out of the loop as to what kids are reading now. Oh sure - I can reel off various authors and titles that every kid enjoys and has enjoyed over the years. But who are the new authors popular right now? (Apart from J.K. Rowling of course).

I'd be interested in hearing about ages 5-15 years I think...

I need to get some books out of the library and start reading.

Overheard from the front seat

DS: This car is smelly.
Me: What does it smell of?
DS: You!
Me: Oh. *thinks* But I'm wearing Ma Griffe!

Shows how often I remember to put on perfume.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sketch challenge

from Paper Pesto. I used the large photo here & the sentiment on those V-day cards I forgot to photograph! LOL!

Fun sketch to work with - you can see the original here.

NZ Dare 39

The next dare is up!

Pop along and join in the fun.... great prize to be had.

This is my take on the challenge. It was exciting and a bit scary to be a guest designer but in the end I was pleased with the result.

And besides all that, I am happy to have this recorded and in my album which after all is the purpose of scrapbooking for me.

Friday, February 15, 2008

This girl

likes to accessorize.

Missy Moo is modelling a gingham pink over skirt body suit with

  • Dad's "Something Blue" tie,
  • Mummy's Undies as a shrug
  • and as a final point of interest, Daddy's Brown Dress Belt used as a drape.

Further elements of the House of Dugmore Ready to Wear collection will be displayed at a later date.

Bathroom Progress


After Painting

We're getting there! Need to do the window frame, door frame, window and skirting boards yet.

And then we'll have to do the floor and put in the new vanity.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Twitter and Facebook

As though I didn't already waste too much time on the web I've signed up to Twitter and Facebook (in response to some friendly requests from friends).

Anyone else round here on these?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Having made 3 Valentine cards with photos for the respective aunties (and to use for the NZ Dare 38) I then put them in the envelopes and post them.

Without taking a picture to enter the Dare with.

Think I'm having a senior moment.

I shall now go and seal myself in the bathroom with the paintbrush. Maybe I will accomplish something today!

<----- Yes that is me. I'm the sobbing maiden at the Murder Mystery we held to launch our new online catalogue at MFPOW. We had a lot of fun doing this!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - chicken noodle soup to help DH's cold, and steamed corn because it will be no good tomorrow
Tuesday - Thai pork meatballs, rice, stir fry veges
Wednesday - Mexican bean soup with tortillas
Thursday - Almost Butter chicken & vegetable pies from HFG (Feb issue); Valentine cupcakes of some sort, maybe these ones or Nigella's Love Buns.
Friday - going out for tea to a friend's house, might be taking dessert or cool drink but have to consult with Mum.
Saturday - Spicy beef skewers with rice and some sort of salad
Sunday - Roasted tomato & ricotta frittata

Now I'd better get my skates on because I need to do some printing and scrapbooking. I am the guest designer for the NZ Dare blog and I need to CREATE something by Wednesday for Dare 39. Very exciting!

Just slightly under pressure here. *breathes into a paper bag*

LOL! Just kidding.

Sort of.

January Reading Round Up

CW did a year old round up of her reading for 2007, so I decided to keep track of the titles I read by month - just because.

January Reading Round Up

My "junk food" reading:
Slow Burn by Julie Garwood
+ another Julie Garwood whose title I've forgotten

Other titles:
The year of eating dangerously by Tom Parker-Bowles
I enjoyed this one. Not quite as funny as I thought it was going to be but still very entertaining. Basically TP-B goes around the world trying all kinds of strange and/or scary eats. The chapter on chillies was especially interesting to me having a chilli-head for a husband. Plus you've got to admire a guy who will willingly eat bugs.

In the tenth house by Laura Dietz
A chance encounter between an early psychiatrist and a so-called "medium" who may or may not have powers sparks an obsessive chase on the part of the psychiatrist to prove her a fraud. This was a good read but I felt some of the deeper things the writer was hinting at went over my head a bit. I wanted to know more about the "mad" people the protagonist was treating but it wasn't the focus of the story. A twisty ending.

The mercy seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
The sequel to The Illuminator. Set in the 14th century and deals with the persecution of the followers of Wycliffe by the Catholic church. The relationship between the 2 main characters is defined by this setting. Very much enjoyed this one and wished I'd read the first one before hand!

The persimmon tree by Bryce Courtney
Okay - I admit my plebeian tendencies and will say I did enjoy this book despite the predictability of the plot. Set in Java and Australia, the 2 main characters meet briefly, fall in love and then are separated by the invasion of the Japanese in the Pacific. The story then details their separate lives until they can meet again, but this time with all the baggage that each one brings to the relationship. Like I say, the plot is a bit predictable and you have to suspend your disbelief in some places but all the same... a great yarn.

Number of layouts completed: 11

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bag winners!

Names were drawn by my beautiful assistant DS yesterday morning and Ilka, Julie Maree and Roo are the lucky recipients of the Great Baggy Giveaway!

Email me your postal addresses girls and I shall put them in the post this week. Oh - if you have a burning preference for a particular bag LMK and I may be able to accommodate it.

Thank you for your comments everyone. I wish I had made more now so that you all could have one.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The great Baggy giveaway

I've made some more eco-bags and this time I'm giving them away to 3 lucky commenters.

These are not your super-chic bags. They are designed to get scrunched up in your hand bag and to be whipped out when you need it for:
  • that bottle of milk you had to pick up on the way home
  • or the Farmer's Market
  • something

I drew the designs on with a Fabrico marker. You can see them closer on my Flickr photos.

Unfortunately, I'm limiting this giveaway to NZ folks. As much as it galls me, I'm not going to pay the crazy price NZ Post wants to get these bags to places overseas. (Their website is quoting me up to NZ$65.00 for a calico bag that weighs 12g, depending on what type of postage I choose!) Sorry my faithful overseas readers. :-(

So - you know what to do. If you want to be in the draw, leave me a comment :) Lurkers - this is your moment! You could be a lucky lurker!

I'll close the draw on Friday 8th .... uh, late. Like Saturday morning.

Have you seen this?

I just discovered this site. I confess I had tears running down my face with some of these. Gotta get used to the "language" first.

Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures

Monday, February 04, 2008


Anyone want some of these fibres? I've had these sitting in my stash for a while. Happy to snip off a few metres and send some your way if you want. I'm not going to use all of it obviously.

The top pink one has sequins through it.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Shell has been working her butt posterior off and has inspired me to get started on our bathroom.

We've repainted our shower and toilet, but the bathroom has been waiting because it requires a delicate balance of timing. We need to remove the vanity/sink and redo the floor all in a sequence. And we need a plumber too. But anyway, the new vanity is waiting in the garage, and the new mirror has already been installed. So we've started on the painting - the ceiling is done.

Here it is looking "distressed" after we sanded it all. DH has replaced the window frame now.

It seems like someone in the past decided red skirting boards and door frames were good for bathrooms. Hmmmm.... no accounting for taste. I do like red. Maybe not for bathrooms.

I've taken up drawing again. DH was surprised at my efforts.
DH: Did you do that?
Me: Yes... whaddaya mean?
DH: You didn't trace it or anything?
Me: No *in wounded tone*
DH: That's really good sweetie.
Me: Ta.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday -Fresh home made roast pumpkin tortellini or ravioli depending on how bored I get with the folding etc and blue cheese sauce, salad
Tuesday - Chicken Tagine with olives and lemons (recipe below), naan bread, silverbeet
Wednesday - Smoked fish and rice cakes (recipe below), salad
Thursday - Nasi Goreng (with peanut sauce, yum oh yum oh yum)
Friday - Steak and home made oven roasted "chips", some sort of salad
Sat- Something with mince, maybe kofta with some vege curry and rice
Sun - lite mac 'n' cheese (with bacon) with salad of some sort.

Chicken Tagine with Olives and Lemons

Rock salt

1 whole large chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or chicken pieces)

1 T white wine vinegar

5 T olive oil

1 large bunch fresh coriander

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp real saffron

pinch salt

2 chopped onions

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

¼ cup mixed olives pitted

3 small preserved lemons

Rub rock salt into chicken pieces then wash chicken with vinegar. Leave for 10 mins. Rinse and dry, place on clean plate. (I usually just sprinkle both ingredients all over and leave it while I get the rest ready).

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, coriander, cinnamon, saffron, fine salt, half the onions, garlic, cumin, ginger, paprika, turmeric. Mix into a paste. Roll the chicken into the marinade and leave 10-15 mins. ( I usually whiz everything – except the olives and lemons - in the food processor and then put it all in the casserole with the chicken without marinading).

Using a tagine or deep, heavy casserole dish, drop in chicken and pour over excess marinade. Add remaining onions, olives and preserved lemons*. Cook at 180°C for 45 mins or until chicken is cooked. Serve with fresh pita, or Turkish pide.

To use preserved lemons:

Remove the flesh from the lemon peel and discard. Rinse peel under cold water and chop finely before adding to the dish. Some people use the flesh as well but I prefer not to. Preserved lemons are very salty, so be careful when seasoning the dish as extra salt may not be necessary.

Kawakawa & smoked fish cakes with lemon mayonnaise (from Viva)

serves 4
1 1/2 cups cooked med grain rice
1 side of smoked fish
1 tsp kawakawa (I don't have any but these still taste excellent without it. Available from Zarbo, and here and also here)
1 egg
zest of 1 lemon
2 T spring onions, finely sliced
120g taleggio cheese, diced ( I just use whatever cheese I have)
1 T flour
salt and freshly gr. pepper
olive oil for cooking

3 egg yolks
1 t lemon zest
1/2 t caster sugar
300 ml olive oil
sea salt
lemon juice

Remove the skin and bone from the fish and shred the flesh. Add all other ingredients, season and set aside.
To make the mayonnaise; use a food processor whiz the yolks and zest with the sugar for a min and them slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream. When the eggs and oil have amalgamated, turn off the motor and add salt and juice to taste.

Heat oil in a pan and using wet hands, form small rice cakes and cook in batches for a few mins on each side or until golden and crispy. I use a non-stick and and less oil. Serve with mayo and lemon wedges.

Admittedly I doubt I'll bother with the mayo business. I do make my own now and again, but there are some very good bought mayo options out there. Most of the time I don't even serve these fish cakes with mayo at all. They are fine with just a squeeze of lemon juice.