Saturday, 31 October 2015

October 30th Oh No It's Happened Again!!

Just yesterday here I was saying we are entering Hermit mode and won't be venturing out afar. Noses to the grindstone, mumble, mumble, work hard, don't socialise, only the necessities - you get my drift. Nekk Minnit (to coin a NZ slang) look what turned up in our mail. A free pass to see 'The Martian' at the movies. Who can ignore Matt Damon! I hope George will understand

On an unrelated note, whilst out today I spotted this weird road sign. Now to the left of this concrete berm is a footpath (with a gutter), so no way a vehicle would make its way up there. I can only think the indicative arrows are because of the concrete berm, which appears to serve no purpose, so why not remove it?

Friday, 30 October 2015

October 29th Fancy Schmancy Dining

Tonight we dined out and it was courtesy of a dinner voucher that I won,which was a lovely surprise. However I am under strict instructions from 'he who thinks I listen to him' to please not make any more arrangements for evenings out or outings in general.

We have a Xmas light display to arrange and they are still in storage. So we now have to enter hermit mode and it's noses to the grindstone for us.

There is nothing to stop me sharing some of our lovely meal however.

Battered Mahurangi Oysters with a Wasabi Mayonnaise

The evening signature dish of Lamb (confession time - George was glad he had a snack before we left home)

Chocolate Mousse with Peanut Brittle and Salted Caramel Ice Cream (extremely sweet0

A wonderful accompaniment (psst compared to what I pour at home - it was low tide)

Thursday, 29 October 2015

October 28th Jabotibaba

It certainly would be nice to currently be on the Sunshine Coast. Instead tonight I attended a presentation from Sunshine Coast Tourism and various operators. The Sunshine Coast is one hour north of Brisbane in Australia, and it has been quite a few years since I have been up there, so I thought it necessary I attend.

Apart from the obvious accommodation spots, must see attractions I was very interested to hear about a fruit I have never heard of before, the Jabotibaba, seen here on a local wine label and also on a jar of Jam. However when I asked Mr Google about it, it is referred to as Jaboticaba. Unfortunately this was the only bottle on hand and there were more shows to be done, so no samples were forthcoming.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

October 27th National Identity

George is proudly displaying his national identity in the garage. I'm not too sure what I would put up for mine - Polish? Australian? Kiwi?  mmmm think we will just stick with the Romanian banner and I will stick with my identity crisis

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

October 24th - 26th Labour Weekend

This past weekend for us was a long weekend, with a public holiday. Appropriately titled Labour Weekend - which is to commemorate the struggle for an eight hour working day. I  have to question whether that was a successful fight some days?

Labour weekend for us personally means gearing up for Xmas. The garden has to be ready for the light display. I start thinking about what food has to be prepared.

I am going to do my photos backwards, as Monday, for myself anyway, was dedicated to the annual making of the Xmas cake. This is a lovely moist cake and only requires three ingredients (well 5 if you count 2 essences).  I like to make it at the end of October and then I add that certain little something, once a week, to moisten it.  Here's the end result

That was Monday's effort, and now let's go backwards to Sunday.  I bought these tealight candles, and chose these ones as they maintained they would burn for 9 hours. I wanted to test the accuracy of this claim and the proof is in the pudding (or the Xmas cake if we remain with that theme), and I am proud to say it burnt for 9.5 hours.  Don't worry I am not losing my marbles. This is for a function and I wanted to check they would last the distance maintained.

And backwards we go one more day. Our Bird of Paradise plant/shrub/tree has started flowering, so I had to take my annual photo of the first flower to present itself. The Rosemary you can see in the background, has since had a big haircut and is now shorter.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

October 23rd Country Mooosic

Time to say hello to the girls again, who very kindly offer their milk to allow me to aspire to be a cheesemaker.

Friday, 23 October 2015

October 22nd Walks With Minnie

When walking with Minnie, we often come across the weird, wacky or wonderful. Today we found this box on the kerbside, and Minnie had to check that it was was indeed empty. Who knew this is how they transport one day old chicks??

Whilst out on our walk, I realised it is that time of year when the Kowhai Tree are flowering - well actually they are nearing the end of their flowering. I decided I had better take my annual photo of the wonderful Kowhai flower, before they disappear (especially with the current strong winds we have experienced)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

October 21st With Greetings From Venice

What a lovely surprise awaited me when we went for dinner tonight with friends, Alvin, Alicia and their wonderful little girl, Ella. A small gift for me all the way from Venice. Alvin has just returned from a business trip to Italy and Sweden (where he visited the mother ship), and saw this wee treasure in Venice, and I am one very lucky g̶i̶r̶l̶ - ok l̶a̶d̶y̶ - ok o̶l̶d̶ ̶l̶a̶d̶y̶ - let's make that 'supposedly' mature lady!!

I also have to post a photo of the wonderful but cheeky Ella, enjoying her Chocolate Mousse like no Chocolate Mousse has ever been enjoyed before

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

October 20th BBQ Mojo

Longer days means BBQs aplenty. Which means George gets creative in the kitchen. Tonight he 'drummed' up some business with Chicken Licken and his associates

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

October 19th Nigrum Piper

There is nothing like a little Nigrum Piper to spice up a meal. Just as an aside, that is your Latin lesson for the day and Nigrum Piper translates in English to Black Pepper.

It was lunchtime, and after an extremely busy morning, I decided I had to  have some lunch, even if I did eat it at my desk. I thought some of my home made cheese and cherry tomatoes would be a nice combination of finger food to eat whilst I worked.

I sliced the tomatoes and had them on my plate, and then went to grind some sea salt and Nigrum Piper on to them. Well as can only happen to me, the lid on my Pepper jar had come loose (of course I did not realise that), and I had peppercorns everywhere, not only on my plate, on my tomatoes, but even on the bench top. Fortunately it wasn't a full jar.

They do say Pepper is the spice of life!

Monday, 19 October 2015

October 17th - 18th Brain Fart Moments

Let's start at Saturday. We had a wonderful visit from family. My sister, niece and her partner drove down from north of Auckland to visit.  It was absolutely wonderful to see them, and we had a great time together. They left late afternoon, and then I kicked myself.

Even on Sunday, we had visitors and their daughter is gorgeous. I had to kick myself again!  Why? Well when people visit or are the focus of my day, I forget to take a photo. I think I get so caught up in the moment (that is hours not moments of course), I don't even think to take a photo.  Which of course would be perfect for my daily blog. The moment is over and that is when I kick myself for not even considering. 

Apologies to any whom have often wondered why I haven't taken a photo or they have missed out, only to find the focus of that day's blog is a flower or a meal or such and such It is just me and my brain fart moments.

Which is where I found myself both Saturday and Sunday evenings. I decided Saturday's photo would be our yellow brick path , now completely hidden with Orchids, thanks to Friday's effort

George pulled finger to the nth degree and by Sunday late afternoon, our garden returned to it's former glory

The Orchids we are keeping have all been relocated to their permanent homes and pots

Saturday, 17 October 2015

October 16th What Do A Bull and Orchids Have In Common?

The answer to my question is nothing - apart from the fact that both factored into my one day. I started the day South of Hamilton collecting fresh milk from a dairy farm to make some cheese this weekend.

Whilst in the neighbourhood, I spotted one of the local big boys, who thank goodness only came up to the fence to say hello and then went back to his business. I felt sorry for the poor chap as whilst he was here, only a few hundred metres away, his ladies were being artificially inseminated. He did bellow out his displeasure at this injustice

That was the start of day. Then we got to end of day and from starting the day South of Hamilton, we headed North to West Auckland, to Kumeu (well Riverhead to be exact).  We were on a mercy mission... to save some Orchids. What wasn't sold, would be dumped!!!  Well we didn't expect to find this - and there were two of these - what you see here was the same length in the other direction, and the width matched one half of the length. And there were not one but two of these greenhouses

What was in these gargantuan greenhouses? Orchids for Africa.. Orchids in every direction

What did we head home with? Apart from the obvious Orchids. A van packed to the brim with Orchids. They insisted on filling the van to the brim, and we drove home with a jungle in the back. I was almost expecting Tarzan to start bellowing out wanting to be released

I had better leave you with some pretty pictures

Friday, 16 October 2015

October 15th Raglan By The Sea

The words to a song, spotted in the local hotel, about Raglan by the Sea
it was penned by a long gone local, by the name of Clarrie
However the words did resonate about this seaside town
that is sure to turn your frown upside down 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

October 14th The Green Green Grass of Home

Well it's not really home, it's the green, green grass of the neighbourhood park. Nothing beats the unique smell of freshly mown grass

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

October 13th Walks With (Stubborn) Minnie

Well our Little Miss may have just celebrated her 11th Birthday, but she definitely still has all marbles intact and knows her own mind.  We were out for our walk today, and I decided at one point that when she went to make a left turn, we would instead go straight ahead. That was okay. Until we got to the next possible divergent point in our route. She wanted to go left and I wanted to go straight ahead again (a longer route).  Well you may not believe this is possible, but we actually had a tug of war on the roadside. Not just once, but up to 5 times, and guess who won?

I consoled my loss by enjoying a beautiful Bottle brush tree on the way. It has started to bloom, which is early, and which, if old wives tales are to believed, means a long hot Summer. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

October 12th The Bag And I

Does anyone else use oven bags? I find them so handy especially when sticky sauces are involved in the oven. Tonight's dinner was a butterflied Mango and Chili Chicken, so the bag was perfect. I also always use an oven bag when doing ribs. Wonderful invention!

Monday, 12 October 2015

October 9th - 11th Keys, Scones and Bugs

I just had to take a photo of these keys. You may well wonder why. I just had  to take a photo and send it through to George at work.  Over a week ago, we were looking for these keys as they open our french doors in the lounge. Obviously the doors don't get much use over winter. But we needed to open the doors and could not find the keys. They weren't in their usual hidey hole. We tore the lounge upside down. Then 6 days later I was rearranging and here were the keys we were looking for, quite innocently sitting on the hearth at the very front in full view - where we had both tipped everything over, moved items and looked. That is one mystery that will never be explained. And that is why I had to take a photo and send a copy to George.

Saturday dawned and it was only interrupted by lovely neighbours who are moving on to greener pastures and a larger house with their growing family. They came to wish us goodbye and brought with them some lovely home baking. Confession time.. some have been eaten and there are a few less than originally gifted.

Finally the weekend finished with a walk to our neighbourhood lake. Unfortunately two dogs have unexplainedly died recently here, and they feel it may be linked to lake algae. Signs are everywhere. Fortunately Minnie is always on a leash and doesn't run free, but we still have to remain vigilant on our walks

After that sombre note, I will end with a photo of a pretty flower sighted on our walk. Absolutely beautiful colours that would brighten any day

Friday, 9 October 2015

October 8th Join The Club

In my mind, nothing can bet a good club sandwich Unfortunately some cafes take it upon themselves to make huge monsters, and they just don't cut the mustard

To me the perfect club sandwich has no crust, has the freshest, softest white bread, egg is a must and when you take that first bite, there should be a taste explosion.

It was wonderful to find a club sandwich today, that met all of those expectations. I almost felt like hopping in the car and going back to buy another one!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

October 7th A Never Ending Circle

I was gifted this wonderful bracelet. What sets this bracelet apart from others is that it is made entirely from Elephant hair. I would never have believed elephant hair was like wire - until I was given a piece recently in Thailand. It is just like a hard wire.

This bracelet was purchased in South Africa, and is made entirely from elephant hair, so it is pretty special. Also it defines a never ending circle of friendship. And as I always say...

Anything not related to Elephants, is Irrelephant!!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

October 6th Happy Birthday To Our Minnie

Our wonderful little Diva, Minnie celebrated her 11th Birthday today. She still gets called a gorgeous little puppy when we walk her, she still goes hyper when George gets home after a day's work (I just get a wee kiss when I walk in the door), she still rules the roost and demands diva attention, and she still holds a very special place in our hearts.

According to my best friend Mr Google, Minnie in human years is around 60 years old. We couldn't let this special day go unnoticed.

Happy Birthday Minnie, and let's hope we have many, many more to share with you

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

October 5th Stuffed If I Know

It was brought to my attention by an overseas visitor that here in New Zealand we have a funny habit of having two names for vegetables. "Why"? they asked.  Tonight's dinner reminded me of that conversation. Dinner was Capsicum with an Orzo, Feta and Pork Mince stuffing OR Peppers with an Orzo, Feta and Pork Mince stuffing

I am stuffed if I know which it is!

Monday, 5 October 2015

October 2nd to 4th.. You Know There is a Granddaughter In The House When..............

All of a sudden there are toys everywhere (and they are not doggy toys)

There are items in the supermarket trolley that you mormally would never bother with (and still won't... what is the big fuss about with Lewis Road Chocolate Milk??)

and then your dog's nose gets out of joint, because she has a rival in the house - ie Rainbow Sparkles also came to stay the weekend!

Friday, 2 October 2015

October 1st She Should Have Gone to (and I did)

I decided it was time to visit the Optician.  I noticed the computer screen was blurry, and even road signs were suffering the same fate.  I didn't want a new frame, I just needed an upgrade to the lens. Instead of an IOS 9.1 upgrade as Apple have just done, let's refer to it as IF (my initials), IF 7.2, I think I may be upgrading to.

What I can't understand with Opticians however, is that it is cheaper to buy glasses with frames and to get 2 new pairs (think of the 2 for 1 deal), then just to have a lens updated.  I still can't get my head quite around that one, but I like my existing frames and can't see the point in changing something I am happy with.

Also with this particular chain of Opticians, and once again I don't know if this applies to all NZ opticians, but the frames are sent off to Australia (yes across quite a wide ditch) to have the new lens fitted. That is more cost effective??

However.. that means for 2 weeks I have to go without my current glasses, and use my even older glasses in the interim, the IF 6.0 model Which is okay, but everything is even blurrier and worse than with the IF 7.1 model.  Expect a few typos over the next few weeks as I use the following IF 6.0 model. Let's hope that damn plane doesn't crash with my IF 7.2 model in it!!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

September 30th Do You Get That Furry Feeling?

I received Thailand brochures relating to major Thai Festivals, Spa and Medical treatments today (by the way, if anyone would like a copy, just let me know).

I was doing the right thing and reading the contents, and the following paragraph in the Medical Treatments brochure caught my eye.

Yes, fur will do that to you. There is nothing like being at the beach and your fur coat is on display for all and sundry to see!