Saturday, 28 February 2015

February 27th Eggs #101

Here is the best way to hard boil eggs - yes in the oven. Not one crack amongst them, and perfect every time

And let's leave the Eggs and on to a totally different topic. We live on a small suburban section in the inner city, and yet the following is only a 5 minute walk - say approximately 800 metres from home. Every time I come into our local park I always pinch myself, how lucky we are to have this so close to enjoy. You would think this was in some rural forest wouldn't you?

Friday, 27 February 2015

February 26th The Conformists

We have a couple of new leaves come up on a Cactus. The leaves are all young and green and the spines friendly. I decided to get close up and noticed not one non-conformist amongst the spines. Absolutely none. I couldn't accuse them of being spineless but they are all perfectly spaced and perfectly pointing to what must be to them, the right way and not the highway

Thursday, 26 February 2015

February 25th Life is Roses and .....

Yes life is Roses and Strawberries and Bananas but not all wrapped up in one. First off today, I decided to follow the Smoothie Route for my lunch  Frozen Strawberries and Bananas were the order of the day.

Then to end my working day on a sweet note, I received a lovely box of Chocolates from a customer. Totally unexpected and these will be munched on when we need sweetening up. In the words of the infamous Forrest Gump... Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

February 24th Eeek!!! Naked Ladies

Whilst on our walk today, I spotted a bunch of Naked Ladies!  Plants that is. Why on earth they are called Naked Ladies is beyond me. These ones in a neighbourhood garden are actually unusual in that they are white, and the variety more commonly seen is pink.

Feel free to feast your eyes on some Naked Ladies and to remain guilt free

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

February 23rd The Wooden Spoon Award Goes To...

Drum Roll please... yes the wooden spoon award goes to .......

You, You, You and You. Oh yes and You and You

You may well ask what am I doing with all of these wooden spoons? They are not spoons actually, but rowing boat paddles. Yes you read that right, they are rowing boat paddles. We have a lovely wooden carving purchased in Thailand. The carving is of 10 elephants rowing in a boat, all intricately carved and unrealistic I know, but it looks good. Unfortunately the paddles are quite flimsy and a couple have broken. So George spoke to a Wood Crafter acquaintance - and he crafted new paddles for us - from native Macrocarpa timber. Today our elephants took delivery of their new paddles. I guess you could say these elephants won't be rowing up Sh*t Creek without a paddle!

On a totally different note. I received this email from a customer today that I would like to share with you. Their booking was all finalised, and when emailing their documents, I thanked them for choosing to book with myself. I do realise everyone does have a choice as to where they book and I like to pass on my appreciation and to thank my customers. The reply I received in the first paragraph did somewhat floor me.. it isn't a pleasure dealing with me? I sincerely hope that was due to a typo :)

Monday, 23 February 2015

February 21st and 22nd From Goth To Choc and Bugs Bunny

We had an extremely contrasting weekend. Saturday started with shopping duties. Firstly these Concrete Balls are at our local Mall. Obviously they cannot be moved, but I think they look pretty cool

Leaving the Mall, we headed to a Tattoo convention of all things. Hamilton played host to an International Tattoo and Art Expo, so we decided to head along for a look. We were one of the few oldies there of course and what a diverse range of people were there. One recurrent theme whether it be in the art, tattoos, jewellery or even clothing was 'Día de Muertos'- or Mexico's Day Of The Dead. I think I'll pass, but the artwork was great.

It's a small world after all. We attended as George wanted to have some additions done to a current tattoo. Well the eventual Tattoist stall we selected, but only because we were attracted to pictures of his work - he is from the same town as No. 1 Son, has tattooed my son (a photo of the tattoo was in his display book to show off his work ), and as for the other tattoist in his shop - he surfs with No. 1 Son. It's a Small, Small World

We finished Saturday with a lovely dinner with family. Further to my teeth issues, ie Crowns falling out (refer February 20th Blog). It is just as well dinner was with family as whilst we were eating, the crown that was temporarily cemented in came out. When I smile now, I have two front teeth, and large black holes on either side. No Bugs Bunny jokes please!

Therefore Sunday meant staying in isolation and not displaying my lack of choppers to all and sundry. I opted to  bake instead.  Allow me to present my famed Chocolate Chip Cookies. What I would love to know is why no matter how many times I make this particular recipe, you can guarantee every time they are different. They always taste good, but are different to the time before and the time before that. Á chip off the old block?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

February 20th An Ode To A Crown and What Got Me Down

Once upon a time in a land nearby
In the Land Of Irene actually, if you wondered why
Irene lurched from calamity to peril
I often wonder why her name wasn't Beryl

So what happened today, is regarding her mouth
A dental crown fell out and thank God it didn't go South
As in swallowed in a gulp along with her rice cracker
That would have been one helluva snacker

Irene managed to retrieve her double crown
before it disappeared and went down
But now she has a black gap on her dial
and dare not laugh or give a smile

You most probably heard her swear and curse
as she looked at the Credit Card in her empty purse
So off to the Dentist with a determined grin
and then back home to cuddle a bottle of Gin!!

Further to this post, in an 'It Can Only Happen To Irene' moment..... I was eating my dinner this evening and avoided chewing on the side where the above crown was temporarily cemented in, until it could be permanently fixed next week.

I was eating my Meat, Mashed Potato and Veg, and felt a crunch. I thought that was strange and found the culprit in my mouth. It wasn't the above crown, but get this it was a single crown from the other side of my mouth. So I had the right hand fixed today as a temporary measure to see me through, only to now have a single black gap on the other side, and at the front!! So halfway through my day I had a big double black gap on the front upper right side of my mouth, and I ended my day with a single black gap on the front upper left of my mouth!

Friday, 20 February 2015

February 19th A Very Close Shave

Well yesterday I talked about the long arm of the law, and fortunately it didn't happen to me. Today I had a very close shave - with a razor of all things. No Men In Blue were involved. Just a lovely wee lass who goes by the moniker of Nadia. Her and I work together to take my hair colour and styles to new heights. We both feed off each others ideas and here is her latest work. Not to everyone's taste, I realise, but me, myself and Irene like it.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

February 18th The Long Arm Of The Law

They pop up when you least expect it don't they? Spotted today in our little piece of suburbia. Although when I first saw the Police car, I got a fright and thought something had happened at our local shop. Fortunately not, and all was okay. Just a lady being naughty and getting not only a slap on the wrist, but a piece of paper commemorating that she was stopped.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

February 17th A View And A Lime

Whenever I am in elevated points in Hamilton, it always amazes me how green our city is. No matter where you are, it is possible to celebrate the colour green.. Today's photo was taken from the Hospital Carpark. The hospital is inner city and in an extremely busy area and yet this was the view, and from the car park no less.

 This next photo serves no particular purpose. But occasionally I find photos in my photo stream, that obviously I have unintentionally taken.  I shouldn't have told you this next photo was unintentional, and just pretended I was being very arty farty!

Finally to finish my photo montage of the day. For dinner tonight, I made Thai Tom Kha Gai, and I always feel so lucky to be able to use ingredients from the garden. Our very own Kaffir Lime, the leaves from the Kaffir Lime tree and Lemongrass stalks. Only the Galangal is store bought. You can tell as it doesn't photograph as well as home grown!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

February 16th The Vet And The Kauri

It was time for Minnie to go for her annual check up at the Vets today. All good and no health scares. Although old age is definitely creeping up on our girl, as she tipped the scales at an even 5kg for the first time ever. She has always been either 4.8 or 4.9kg, and today she was 5kg.  We are going to have to watch our little fatty doesn't become a big fatty!!

After a clean bill of health, time to reward our Minnie Moo with a walk. Hamilton has had the pleasure of still having lovely high temperatures. It was 27 degrees when we got home late afternoon. It is very pleasant as there is nice cloud cover and no relentless, hot burning sun. The clouds looked very pretty and colourful today

On one of our walking routes, in a very tiny suburban garden, is this tree

I am pretty sure it is a Kauri. This is unusual for the Hamilton region (does anyone know of any other Kauri trees in Hamilton}?  With the size Kauri trees grow to, ie they have massive trunks, and when I say massive, I mean massive - I wonder if any thought was put into the planting of this tree at this point. It is on the boundary with the public footpath. and as I mentioned in a very, very tiny garden. I hope I have a few more years on the clock to watch its progress and growth! Or if it isn't a Kauri, please correct me and I would love to know what it is.

Monday, 16 February 2015

February 14th and 15th The Weekend That Was

A weekend comprising Valentines Day, and a lovely wee road trip up to Auckland to catch up with my sister and her family.

I happened to be reading online last night various pages on a local website about 'The Five Best Places For.....' and one of the topics was sunsets. I was most surprised they missed out our address as both Saturday and Sunday provided spectacular sunsets, without having to leave home.

Here is Saturday's.....

Moving on to Sunday. Up to Auckland we ventured for a catch up with my Sister and her family. We had a lovely time as always. The views crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge in either direction, is always a pretty sight. It doesn't matter whether the skies are absolutely blue, or a wee bit cloudy like today, Auckland Harbour provides some magic scenery.

And home to another stunning sunset

Saturday, 14 February 2015

February 13th Forget Triskaidekaphobia

Triskaidekaphobia is a fear of Friday the 13th. I do not suffer from Triskaidekaphobia, I just love the way it rolls off your tongue. We are going to have three Friday the 13ths this year I believe, so you will see this word from me more.

I may not have had any bad luck today, but by the end of today I sure was eyeing this up

I had a lady here at home today. She was doing her thing and then started commenting about Minnie, how quiet and cruisy she is, never barking and just a pleasure, the usual blah blah blah. Her next comment floored me however. She told me that she was telling her family about Minnie and how Minnie enjoys her own mobile grooming service (what else would one do for a diva?) and this is her words that she used to tell me how she told her family "I was telling my family about you, the old lady, who has this lovely dog and she gets the groomer to come to her"  Old lady, Old lady!!  My face froze (without the addition of any Botox, but maybe I need to consider it?) and I thought What! What! you just called me an old lady!!    To rub salt into the wounds in later conversation this same lady said to me... "I know this Filipino family - they are just lovely. Their mother is 91, she looks better than you"!!    Excuse the following exclamation and it is censored but W T F !!!!!

By the time she left, I was a dribbling, drooling mess.  Mirror, Mirror On The Wall material.  In her defense, I think she may be thicker then pig shite and obviously missed out on Tact #101 Class at School, but the only way I can finish today's blog off, is to once again say

Friday, 13 February 2015

February 12th The Good Lie And Tears

This week has really been just an 'Every Day Week In the Life Of Irene' - which we all have. George decided to take on cooking duties for dinner and we went total Vegetarian with some heavy Iron content. Now those of you that know George's eating habits, are fully aware that for him to not have meat in a meal is a fairly unusual occurrence. But he wanted his home made Hash Browns with a Spinach Sauce, and that's what our dinner was.  I must say he does make a particularly great Hash Brown. I haven't got the patience to grate potatoes. Here is his offering, the first out of the pan

You may wonder what Hash Browns and today's subject line  The Good Lie and Tears have in common? Absolutely nothing, well maybe they do

We ended the evening watching a movie called 'The Good Lie' and I thoroughly recommend it. It is the story of children affected by the Sudanese conflict. They survive their village, parents and village elders being destroyed. Make their way, by foot mind you, to refuge in Kenya - a distance of 600 miles walked  - and this is Africa we are talking about, with not only lions and other wildlife looking upon them as dinner, but also soldiers wanting to kill them. They adjust to life in a Kenyan Refugee Camp, and finally resettle to America.

This is the part of the movie that moved me so much. To see what Western life is like from a point of view of a refugee, who has not had telephones, televisions etc.  This movie had us both tearful and if you do watch it, which I highly recommend, if you are not moved to tears you would have to have a heart made of iron (and not from eating too much of George's Spinach Sauce to accompany his Hash Browns). A definite must see.  I am upset to see it has not made any Award lists - it was released late 2014. Also another part that was emotional was the movie credits - the main actors are all Sudanese refugees who have been part of the conflict, apart from Reese Witherspoon of course. Please make an effort to watch this if you can.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

February 11th Mish Mash of a Day

Today was a real mish mash of day, and just between you and me not that exciting. But then if every day was exciting, then exciting days wouldn't be special would they? Just a piece of deep thinking there for you to ponder over.

Back to my day, which first involved a walk with Minnie. I happened upon an Old Girl, that had more years on the clock than myself! Go figure..

 Home we headed. Time to have the daily inspection of the plants, and good to see one of the Bromeliads starting to flower

And let's finish the day with a bit of arty fartiness - yes it's our garden (including the large palm tree) reflected in some artwork.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

February 10th Why Oh Why!!

Why oh why
Have I been Asian Eggplant Shy?

I am familiar cooking with the purple skinned Eggplant (or Aubergine if you went to a fancy schmancy school or love the way the word rolls off your tongue).  I have never, however, cooked with Asian Eggplant.

I decided it was time to shake off my mental shackles. I found Asian Eggplant in the supermarket and decided there had to be a recipe out there, somewhere, in the wild wild west of the internet, that would provide me with a suitable recipe. And there was. And I did it. The recipe name wasn't spectacular - it was called Pork and Eggplant Stir Fry. That doesn't really give one goosebumps does it? But as I scanned the recipe I could see its hidden potential. Anything with garlic, chilli, and a variety of Asian sauces, ie Rice Vinegar, Soy, Sesame Oil and Fish Sauce has to be good doesn't it?

So a chop, chop with the Eggplant I went.

 This is the finished recipe. Not very photogenic, I will admit. Who cares! It hit every possible taste bud and we were both exclaiming with delight. George at its taste and myself that not only did it taste good, but also that I didn't balls it up - to be quite frank.

Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to present my Pork and Eggplant Stir Fry

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

February 9th This Chicken Didn't Get To Cross The Road

Cooking duties were George's responsibility today. He decided we hadn't had BBQ'd Beer Butt Chicken for a while. There was some frantic preparation. To make Beer Butt Chicken you do need a can of beer - which we didn't have in the house. So a quick drive down to the local shop to buy 'a can' of something, empty it's contents and then put some beer into the can.

The end result... definitely worth it. That is if you aren't vegetarian and you weren't the chicken of course!

Monday, 9 February 2015

February 6th, 7th and 8th a Looooong Weekend

A long weekend due to Friday being Waitangi Day (for those overseas - a significant day in NZ's history celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by 40 Maori Chiefs - at Waitangi. I think that is sufficient background and oogle Google if you want to know more). Who is going to knock back a long weekend, we had no significant plans, and having been away only last weekend, we decided a weekend spent at home and enjoying sleeping in for three mornings, would do us very nicely thank you.

Friday February 6th I didn't want to bore you with a photo of my Grocery shopping, or more beans purchased to fill the bean bag (and yes this time we did use the bath). so as today is Waitangi Day and a day to celebrate all things Kiwi - let's have a photo of one very stuffed Kiwi instead

Saturday February 7th A day to get my Foodie on. Gazpacho me baby! We have a glut of home grown tomatoes - not enough to warrant making sauces etc, but a glut nonetheless. I found a recipe for Gazpacho, and I have always wanted to try it. So try it I did. Can I say it is nice but I won't make it again. I think the ingredients pre blitzing looked better then the final product.

That was the Gazpacho ticked off the 'Not At the Top of My Bucket List' list

Sunday February 8th Today was supposed to be an atypical Sunday. Sleep in, lots of coffee, move and do the household chores. You know what they say about the best laid plans of Mice and Men... and Irene. It all went topsy turvy due to a certain granddaughter, her swimming lessons, being invited out to lunch by the family and generally being a Nana and Poppa Day.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present the future Swimming Queen of New Zealand. and greatest Ballerina of New Zealand, and greatest Artist New Zealand has ever seen, and well actually when all is said and done, just one half of the two greatest Granddaughters to grace this particular Nana's heart

Here's the other half of the two greatest Granddaughters to grace this particular Nana's heart. Being a true foodie like her Nana and examining the contents of her Pizza slice That look says it all - ie WTF is on this and should I even be eating this? Is this worthy of swallowing?

Friday, 6 February 2015

February 5th The Unexpected Finally Happened!!

Yes it happened, Our Cactus had a baby. Not the Original Cactus we were waiting on. Just between you and me I think that one decided to abort. It was a perfect bud one day, I got all excited and if I could cartwheel and somersault I would have. Then the next day the bud turned black and dropped. As if to punish me for not cartwheeling and somersaulting at the good news. . Would you cartwheel and somersault in an area of cactuses? Who knows what could end up in your hoohaa with a brouhaa. By the way if you are going to dispute cactuses vs cacti - it actually is cactuses as my good friend Mrs. G.Oogle told me.

This was another Cactus in the same area quietly going about its business. George kept telling me the bump was a flower, and I thought not. And of course this was one of the very few occasions I was wrong and George was right!

Just the one solitary flower, but it is a beauty at that.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

February 4th Swimming Rama

Tonight's dinner is commonly known in Thailand as Swimming Rama. To be honest, I have never seen this dish on my visits to Thailand, or noticed it, is a more likely explanation. But I read about it somewhere, somehow and decided to consult Mr G. Oogle to see what 'Swimming Rama' actually was. I liked the sound of it - very similar to a Satay sauce, but the difference being that the chicken is poached and not on skewers and it is served with spinach. It is not something we have often, but when we do have it or if I have cooked it for guests, it is always enjoyed.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

February 3rd From One Bean to Another

Well I did mention yesterday about the tussle with the Bean Bag beans. I thought we had managed to clean up all of those little pafoofley mounds of white Polystyrene. Until I noticed this under the rubbish bag this morning. I have a feeling these beans may be haunting us for a while to come! However one handy hint has been received when we put the next amount in (due to me buying insufficient beans), is to do this in the bath tub. This will definitely be the option.

The day went from Has Beans to Green Beans. Dinner tonight is Ham Steaks on the BBQ, and here is the Vegetable accompaniment for the day.  Would you like some Garlic with your Green Beans Sir/Madam?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

February 2nd Ho Hum De Hum

Nothing great going on here folks. There was work - to keep myself in the style I am accustomed to. More work, and a bit of shopping to replenish the shelves after a weekend away.

Wait!  There was one bit of excitement. I have purchased a Bean Bag and had to buy the Bean Bag fillers. Because it is a large 450 litre capacity bean bag, the fillers I purchased were in 100 litre bags. Now what could possibly go wrong when you are trying to fill a Bean Bag with fillers - for most people not much. But for George, who has me as his 'able' assistant (cough cough), you can guarantee there will be spillage, and the wooden kitchen floor will be a wash of white. Needless to say no photographic evidence exists of this fact as we were too busy sweeping up the evidence. That actually is the good news! The bad news is that the bag is 450 litre, which I wasn't aware of. I thought it was the normal 200. So now, we have to go through this again with even more Beans. Watch this space - with either anticipation or should that be trepidation?

What I do have photographic evidence of is our dinner. Whilst we were in Waiheke over the weekend, the boys went out for a couple of hours fishing from the rocks. We were very lucky to bring the spoils home with us and yes, tonight's dinner was ocean fresh snapper. I always love it crumbed, as when it is fresh it can tend to break up in the pan. So dinner was fresh caught snapper, with home made crumbs. Accompanied by a lovely Tomato, Basil and Feta Salad. I know that combo is supposed to be Mozzarella, but we particularly enjoy it with a wonderful Bulgarian Buffalo Feta. Bon Appetit!

Monday, 2 February 2015

January 30th, 31st and February 1st A Little Overseas Jaunt

Yes we decided to head overseas for the weekend. Well if you want to split hairs,  not really overseas, but across the ocean to Waiheke Island, which is an hour by ferry from Auckland City. We were invited to visit friends and our visit coincided with the Biennial Headland Sculpture on The Gulf. A wonderful walk of approximately 3 kms over the island where sculpture pieces have been installed.

Friday 30th January Over the Seas we head - ahoy me hearties!

Saturday 31st January :Let's start the day with the Sculpture Walk and here is a small selection of pieces

Sunday February 1st Time to think about packing and heading home. Better take the laptop with me

Getting ready to indulge in a posh nosh breakfast, with our 'So good, we would have to kill you, Salmon on a BBQ' secret recipe. This is just the start, and the secret sauce made by yours truly was added before BBQíng

Jammed on to the ferry to head home. What a wonderful weekend!