Friday, May 30, 2008

Flaunt it Friday: neighbours

themommykelly's theme for this week's Flaunt it Friday is Neighbour Nightmares.

Heres the post about mine.

This man was subsequently charged with the murder of an elderly woman once he came out of the coma he went into as a result of his attempted suicide.

Fortunately the son and uncle have moved on and an elderly couple appear to be in the flat now. Presumably they are "normal".

Whatever normal is.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bag Winners

My handsome assistant (who took his job VERY seriously) pulled out 4 eco-bag winners last night.

Congratulations girls! :-)

Angela and Candes - please email me your postal address. (I believe I have yours still Jenny, and I know I have Rachel's).

Neda, Vicky, Mel, Lara and Bronny... you girls are next on my list to make bags for.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Recipes by request!

Neda wanted to know the marshmallow recipe I used the other day as I mentioned it on Twitter, so here it is.

It's from the Edmonds Cookery Book, pg 195. I don't think I would have attempted it if I didn't have my bench cake mixer. A hand held electric beater would probably be a really boring way to make these!

DS (and DH) love marshmallows. I'm so-so with the bought ones, but these homemade ones are seriously good and I am having trouble resisting their siren call from the 'fridge. I like the ones with toasted coconut best. I think chopped nuts would work quite well too.


2 Tablespoons gelatine *

1/2 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla or peppermint essence

coconut or icing sugar (powdered sugar if you're Stateside)

Combine gelatine and first measure of water. Leave to swell for 10 minutes.

Place sugar and second measure of water in a large saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.

Dissolve gelatine over hot water. Pour gelatine into sugar mixture and bring to the boil. Boil steadily for 15 minutes. Allow to cool until lukewarm.

Beat well until very thick and white. Add vanilla or peppermint essence. Pour into a large wet tin. Chill until set.

Turn out of tin. Cut into squares and roll in coconut or icing sugar. Keep chilled.

*Note about gelatine: The most common form of gelatine in New Zealand is the granulated form that comes in a box. I know other countries mostly have a sachet form, so the amount you need will be 2x15ml=30ml (the size of the Tablespoon measure used here in New Zealand). I haven't tried this recipe with sheet gelatine or the various vegetarian gelatines. I think agar would be too firm but I stand corrected on this one. My vegetarian friend struggles to find good vegetarian gelatine here, but she got some sent to her from the UK once to make marshmallows and they were delightful.

Toad in the Hole with Dark Ale Roasted Onions

from Dish, Issue 18, pg.76

Ruth- your assumption is correct that this dish is essentially a Yorkshire Pudding batter with sausages added!


1 cup plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

250ml milk

50ml cream

3 eggs


1 Tablespoon olive oil

knob of butter

8 pure pork sausages

4 portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced

8 small vine tomatoes


800g red onions, peeled

1x 330ml bottle dark ale, such as Monteith's Winter Ale

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

large knob of butter

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 x 20cm saute pans or 35cmx25 cm roasting dish

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).

Onions: Cut the onions through to the root into 8 wedges and place in a baking dish lined with tin foil. Stir the ale, sugar, mustard, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar andgarlic together and pour over the onions. Season and dot with butter. Cover tightly and roast for 1 hour shaking the tin occasionally.

Increase the heat to 200 degrees C.

Uncover the onions and roast for a further 20-30 minutes until the beer has reduced to a syrupy consistency. These can be made ahead and reheated before serving.

Pre-heat or increase the oven temperature to 220 degrees C.

Batter: Put the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk the milk, cream and eggs together. Gradually pour into the flour, whisking to make a smooth batter. Set aside until ready to use.

Filling: Heat the oil in a saute pan and fry the sausages until cooked. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Drain off most of the oil, add a knob of butter and saute the mushrooms until cooked. Season.

Put a teaspoon of olive oil in each pan and place in the oven to heat until the oil is shimmering. It is important the oil is searing hot so that the batter can rise quickly. Divide the sausages and mushrooms between the pans (i.e. lots for me, none for DH), and pour the batter around. It should sizzle when it hits the pan. Place the tomatoes on top and cook for about 15 mins or until puffed and golden and the centre is firm.

Slide each toad onto a plate and serve with the roasted onions and a green salad. Serves 4.

As I don't own these saute pans they are cooked in in the magazine, I'm going to take Lara's suggestion and use my Texas muffin tins. Hoping to do the butchery shopping tomorrow so if I get mini pork sausages, I think this will work fine.

*ponders* What can I going to do with 5 bottles of dark ale left over from this dish? I don't drink beer. Any suggestions?

Menu Plan Monday

Got my last copy of Dish (the sub runs out and I'm not renewing to save some $) so I'm making some dishes from this issue and others for the next 2 weeks.

Monday- Beef goulash with parsley dumplings, carrots, cabbage
Tuesday - Toad in the hole with ale roasted onions, salad
Wednesday - Pasta with pumpkin, pine nuts and rocket sauce
Thursday - Mac & Cheese, some sort of green vege
Friday - Chicken and Olive tagine, couscous, Iman Bayildi
Saturday - French onion soup, cheese tartlets
Sunday - Lamb cutlets with white beans and gremolata, rice, sauteed spinach

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tim Swim

Tim Swim
Originally uploaded by pdugmore2001.

This was an almost entry for the Paper Pesto guest designer search. I made 3 layouts and DH had the deciding vote. I still hummed and haahed over his choice but in the end decided just to go for it.

I entered.
If I get picked it will be all your fault okay? You are the ones who said I should.

So there.

And if I don't... ah well. Not too worried about it really.
Won't have to use that paper bag.

Flaunt it Friday: Summer delights

Well this one is a kind of nostalgic post since we're going into winter here... but mommykelly's theme for this week is what is your summer favourite.

  • Beach - not that I get to go there much. DH isn't a sit-on-the-beach person.
  • Holidays - these always seemed so much longer when I was a kid. What happened!?
  • The scent of hot grass, asphalt, freshly washed and air dried sheets
  • T-shirts and airy summer clothes
  • Bare feet - I suffer from cold feet, but not in summer. I hardly ever wear shoes unless I have to go out.
  • Cicadas singing
  • Sunday afternoon naps with the window open and breeze coming through
  • Long summer evenings - bbqs, working in the garden
  • Summer fruit and vegetables!! Yay!
What is your favourite? Join the meme here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just to keep me humble

I was given a son.

Scene: Mummy is giving herself a pedicure/manicure in the bedroom. Son arrives.

Son: What you doing Mummy?
Me: Tidying up my nails.
Son: Why?
Me: Because Mummy likes to look nice.
Son: Why?
Me: *thinks: good question* Because if I don't push this skin back it will split.
Son: Monsters have skin like that.
Me: Thanks buddy... I needed that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Some lists

I had better do my own versions of these lists! I am enjoying reading yours - keep them coming :-)

Splendid Things
  • Sunset on the beach
  • A little hand sneaking into mine
  • Hearing somebody is getting married after being single for a long time (yay for PS!)
  • Love
  • Mt Ruapehu when the clouds disappear from it and it's got snow all over it
  • Lydia's giggle

Things that make one's heart beat faster
  • Discovering the bank account is in overdraft
  • Opening the door to find JW's on the door step
  • Hearing DH's car come into the driveway
  • Getting a box of scrapping goodies
  • Waiting for a pregnancy test to display 2 lines, or ... not (I'm talking about PAST experience here *pokes out tongue*)
  • Smelling DH's aftershave when he's been away for a while
Things that should be large
  • My coffee in the morning
  • Chocolate bars
  • Boxes of scrapping goodies
  • Love
  • My coffee in the evening
  • Holidays
  • Pillows
Awkward things
  • Visiting a rest home and seeing a senile elderly lady calling out for help
  • Wanting to know if my kit will come soon but not wanting to hassle anybody about it because of the circumstances
  • Trying to shave legs in the shower especially when pregnant
  • Asking someone to babysit
  • Talking to someone and noticing they have something odd about their features but trying not to look at it

One reason I love being a librarian

is stories like this one.

Thank heavens for the book people who show the way

I particularly like:

"I've been thinking about you," she said. She reached underneath her desk as if she was hiding a time bomb, but instead pulled out three books rubber-banded together with a note that had my name on top.

"This," she began in a whisper, palming the first cover as if she was touching the hood of James Bond's car, "is an adventure you will never forget until the day you die."

Her choices were a wonder. She had read me perfectly.

I love being able to do this. It is one of the most gratifying parts of librarianship. Being able to guide people to undiscovered lands and point out the possibilities.

I don't just mean with fiction either. My favourite aspect of librarianship is working with seekers of information, something prosaically entitled "reference librarianship". Helping people to find treasure troves of information hidden within the sandy mass of the bibliographic beach.

That's why I love being a librarian.

Now if only I could find some position that would allow me to do it again.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blogaversary (a month late)!

For some reason I wrote on my kitchen calendar that today (May 19) was my blogaversary . In fact, it was last month. On the 19th.

But I never did post about it then. Oh dear. So deciding it was better a month later than never, I now announce another Eco-bag Giveaway because this blog is TWO! I wonder if the terrible twos will become evident. Hmmmm.

*wooosh to blow out candles*

The only catch is - I haven't made the bags yet! Heh heh :-) I think I'll commit to making 4 bags, and if I feel in the groove I shall make more.

This month, I've enjoyed reading The Pillow Book of Sei Shonogon. It's a Japanese classic written by a lady in waiting somewhere between 1001-1010. She liked to write lists.

So in order to enter the giveaway I would like you to write a list (short or long) on one of these topics.

You can do this in a comment or on your blog.

If you do post it on your blog, please let me know in a comment.

  • Splendid Things
  • Things that make one's heart beat faster
  • Things that should be large
  • Awkward things
I hope that isn't too hard! I think they could be interesting prompts for a scrapbooking LO.

Note: I will post to overseas in this giveaway.
note 2: As the bags are not yet made, I cannot say when they will be posted. So I'm not promising quick service here ;-) Like the ad says, it might not happen immediately but it will happen.

Edited to add: I'll close off the competition on Sunday 25th at midnight NZ time.

Menu Plan Monday

So far so good with the fortnightly shopping!

Monday - sausages with lentils, mashed potato, carrots
Tuesday - pumpkin risotto, rocket & lettuce (from my garden) salad, roast capsicums. Apple-custard tea cake for dessert (which I made last week and froze so I hope it's ok).
Wednesday - sweet and spicy chicken thighs in the crockpot, rice, steamed carrots
Thursday - fishcakes, silverbeet (from my garden), something else yet to be decided
Friday - roast chick and the usual roast dinner things
Saturday - Corn and bacon chowder, home made bread
Sunday - home made meat pie plus some veges

My baking this week will include these Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate chip Cookies which promoted on her site last week. I'm a sucker for "oaty" things. And chocolate things. And oaty chocolate things together.

Kristen asked for the corned beef recipe so here it is! The only way to do corned beef! (IMO anyway).

Corned Beef or Pickled Pork
serves 6-7
from The New Zealand Crockpot Cookbook by Joan Bishop pg. 85

1.5kg corned beef, brisket, silverside or pickled pork
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 T wine vinegar
1 T raw sugar (I use brown sugar.)
hot water

Pre-heat the crockpot for 20 mins
2. Place meat in the pot with the cloves, bay leaves, vinegar, raw sugar and hot water to just cover meat.
3. Cover and cook on low/auto for 8-10 hours
4. Remove and slice. Serve with carrots, cabbage and potatoes.

DH likes it with just plain mustard but I'm rather fond of Mustard Sauce (from that NZ institution, the Edmonds Cookery Book, pg 165)

1 egg
2 T sugar
1 T flour
2 t dry mustard
1 cup water or liquid the corned beef was cooked in
1/4 cup malt vinegar
salt and pepper

Beat egg and sugar together. Put into a saucepan. Add flour and mustard. Stir in water and vinegar gradually. Cook over low heat until mixure thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Add more sugar if necessary. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park

This one is for the Paper Pesto May Sketch competition. I finally used that Chatterbox paper that has been sitting in my stash for I don't know how long!

Paper Pesto are looking for guest designers for the next few months.
I think Rachel should enter....

Monday, May 12, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Pizza and left over soup (since we didn't eat this on Sat)
Tuesday - sage & onion chicken and sausage bake, potatos, steamed broccoli
Wednesday - leftovers plus some veges
Thursday - Slater* soup
Friday - Herb and Ricotta Gnocchi with tomato sauce. Apple and fejoa crumble for dessert
Saturday - Lasagne, salad or green beans
Sunday - Corned beef (crockpot) plus the usual fixin's to go with it.

This week I'm experimenting with doing my grocery shopping fortnightly (i.e. every 2 weeks) rather than weekly. So I have actually planned next week's menu too but it shall not be revealed until next Monday.

Obsessive perhaps?

I am hoping that shopping fortnightly will cut our grocery bill a bit. We shall see. I will have to top up things like milk and fresh veges/fruit. Hopefully I will be able to get to the Farmer's Market next Saturday in order to get the latter.

*From Nigel Slater. You didn't really think I'd eat wood lice did you?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

National Scrapbooking Day Challenges

There were plenty and I didn't get them all done. But I've got them jotted down for future reference! These were for SBO's challenges. The birthday one was for a layering challenge. The Rotokura one was for a paint challenge.

Not sure I really am happy with either but at least they are now recorded. I need layering practice I think.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Woohoo Wednesday

Your post today is to shout Hooray
About the good stuff in your day
Janine's meme is the theme
Here's my list, you'll see what I mean...

My biggie woohoo is I have won a kit from SBO in a challenge draw! I am totally stoked about this! Now go and order lots of stuff from Andrea.... hee hee hee!

I am anxiously waiting for the sweet sound of the courier. It's a bit of a bummer that the neighbour is a courier driver and every time he comes home I think there is something for me... *hums: The Wells Fargo wagon is a comin' down the street so please let it be for me!!!*

My second big woohoo is that the most excellent Tamar from Tarisota Collections is sending my Mum an Addiction collection for Mother's Day because I mentioned her in an entry on her Mother's Day giveaway post.

3rd: DH is still on vacation so it's nice to have him around. :)
4th: Shell is sending me a RAK. :) I am a lucky chicky!
5th: My tooth is still not hurting. It has to last until the 30th when I will be emptying out my wallet at the dentist to have a root canal. I had to go to the emergency dentist on ANZAC Day to get it looked at and he put in a temporary dressing so we could have a vacation. So far it's holding up. x-fingers.

And just so you know that DH truly is a better photographer than me here are some of his so called "feeble offerings".
Waitonga Falls
Tawhai Falls
Blue Duck

He won't toot his own trumpet so I'm doing it for him.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Holiday Antics

View slideshow

Enjoy the show! I've captioned the photos so you know where and what they are. Naturally, DH's 286 photos are far superior to mine, but they don't have people in them. :-)

Even though the weather turned to custard the week we were away *aside: this always happens to us* we managed to do quite a bit. DS managed to complete two 2 hour walks so we were very proud of him. Towards the end of the week though he was saying, "No more walks Daddy okay? No more walks." So on Friday we stayed back at the bach and I caught up with an old school friend who lives in the area.

I managed to lose another kilo - yay for me! Only 3 more to go before I reach my goal.

We stayed in Turangi in a bach from the Holiday Houses website. It was a good little bach, very simple but served the purpose. Most days we spent out and about in Tongariro National Park. DH had several places he wanted to photograph - most of them involving water and streams. The Mangetepopo tragedy was rather high in my mind but fortunately most of the places he went were not in the risky category.

We visited the Tree Trunk Gorge, Pillars of Hercules, Waikato Falls, Taranaki Falls, Mangawhero Falls, Waitonga falls (where Gollum eats the fish from the Forbidden Pool in LOTR) as well as Lake Rotopounamo and Lake Rotokura. I really wanted to have a swim in the hot pools at Tokaanu but we didn't get time.

DH did a lot more on the Friday and one morning when I stayed back with children at the bach. However, he did lose his lens cap in the Rangipo Desert which caused me to taunt him with this:

In the Rangipo Desert
Covered in sand
Lies a languishing lens cap
Dropped by Rod's hand

Alas for the lens cap
For now it is lost
Rod'll have to replace it
At significant cost.

I might add that this is not the first lens cap/piece of photographic equipment that he has lost or forgotten to pick up or dropped off the side of a precipice.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

So much to do after a holiday but here is this weeks menu plan. Holiday pics and replying to emails will get done soon!

Monday (vego night) - Spinach crepes with blue cheese (and mushrooms for me), roast capsicums, Tempe Goreng Tepung (fried tempeh in batter).

A bit of a labour intensive dinner but if I can get the chance I will make the crepes earlier in the day. I'm trying tempeh for the second time. I wasn't sure what to do with it the first time and it wasn't that nice. This time I'm using a recipe from someone in the know - a New Zealand Malaysian food blogger Arfi Binstead who has some gorgeous recipes on her blog accompanied by lovely photos. Tempeh is supposed to be good for bones.

Tuesday - Chicken noodle soup
Wednesday - Malaysian Beef Crockpot, rice, stir fried veges
Thursday - Pasta of some kind
Friday (DH's request) - Lamb rogan josh, our favourite tomato/potato curry, rice. Might even bring myself to make some roti since I have some atta flour. The flour is in short supply here in New Zealand so I'm reluctant to use it up!
Saturday - pizza and some left over soup (recipe below) from the freezer
Sunday - inspired by Nigella I'm going Keema, rice and then sticky toffee pancakes.

Last night I made Yellow Split Pea and Frankfurter Soup from Nigella's Feast book. It is a yummy option for these autumnal evenings. You can substitute vegetarian frankfurters if you wish.

Yellow Split Pea and Frankfurter Soup
from Feast / by Nigella Lawson pg. 114 Serves 6-8 (freeze the extra if that is more than you need)

1 onion
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
1 stick celery
2-3 T oil
1/2 t ground mace
2 1/4 cups yellow split peas (I used a mix of red lentils and moong dahl because that is what I had)
5-6 cups chicken or vege stock
2 bay leaves
approx. 8 frankfurters

Peel the onion, carrot and garlic and cut the onion and carrot into rough chunks. Put them all, along with the roughly cut up celery stick into the food processor and blitz it until they are finely chopped.
Heat the oil in a heavy based pan and put on med heat. When warm, add the chopped veges from the processor and saute until soft but not coloured.

Add the ground mace*. It really does make a difference to the taste so if you don't have any, try adding some nutmeg. Stir well and add split peas. Stir until they are coated and mixed with the other ingredients. Pour over the stock and add bay leaves, then bring to the boil. Cover and turn down the heat. Cook for about an hour or until everything is tender and sludgy, adding more stock as needed. Taste for seasoning.

You can add the sausage when you want. I cut it into chunks and toss it in towards the end of the cooking. Nigella heats hers in the microwave and puts it into the individual soup plates before serving the soup in them. Both my kids really like this soup.

*Mace is the outer covering of a nutmeg and is stronger in taste than the nutmeg. Replacing mace with nutmeg is possible but doesn't entirely replicate the taste. I buy it from Mahadeos in Mt Eden, Auckland.

I also made this (it's jolly good):

Chilli-cinnamon Chocolate Pudding
from Feast / by Nigella Lawson pg. 229 Serves 6

This is a "self-saucing" pudding. Great with ice cream.

1 cup flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
pinch salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 chilli powder
1 cup caster (super fine) sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup oil (e.g. canola or rice bran, not olive oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup dark rum (Leave this out if you want. It makes a nice addition, but it's not vital).

Preheat oven to 180 deg. C (350 deg. F) and butter an approximately 8 cup capacity round baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt, cinnamon, chilli, sugar and half the cocoa. Beat the milk, vanilla and oil together in a jug and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix into a smooth batter. Spoon into the greased dish.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup cocoa with the brown sugar and sprinkle over the batter in the dish. Pour 3/4 cup boiling water over the batter/sugar and then tip in the rum.

Cook for 30 mins by which time the cake will have risen to the top and the sauce will be lurking underneath in it's unctuous chocolate chilli glory.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


from holiday!
Weather was crap not so nice.
Did some walks though.
Took some pics.
Saw a native frog! Wow! Dh saw some blue ducks. (me so jelly!)

more later... heaps to catch up on.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mel did this on her blog, and here is my verdict.

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon

I'm not sure I like being a colon. It's rather too intestinal for my liking. Actually for some of the questions I could have chosen another answer, so maybe I'm just a semi-colon.