Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Meme

Originally uploaded by mellopuffy

Is anyone else depressed by the seeming inevitability of Benazir Bhutto's assassination?

That, and what with Martha tagging everyone with a new meme, I've been forced to post a little earlier than I intended during our holiday.

So here we go: What I ate on Christmas day. And if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged as well ;)

Breakfast: Croissant from Ma and Pa's local artisan bakery, Le Pique Nique (spelling?), filled with ham, tomato and Whitestone Mt Domet brie. Glass of bubbles. Mmmm coffee...

Morning tea/nibblies: Aunty Adrienne's apricot truffles and christmas sweets, as well as some fresh cherries.

Lunch: Starter of garlic prawns and whitebait fritters *YUM*. B and Uncle Ray did a swap as B doesn't like whitebait (the eyes! the guts!) and Ray doesn't like prawns (fancy muck!). Roast turkey, new potatoes (both boiled and baked), kumara, roasted carrots, fresh peas, steamed cabbage, asparagus, yummy gravy. More bubbles(French even!) and then some sav blanc. Some time later.... Aunty Adrienne's christmas pudding (made to my grandmother's recipe) with cream. Then off for a nana nap.

Dinner: Baked ham with honey, marmalade and mustard glaze, in ciabatta baps, eaten in front of 'The Notebook' (warning! Grade 1 weepy!), then onto 'Outrageous Fortune - The Movie'. Not having followed this fab programme myself before now, I was not in the least confused by the apparent resurrection from the dead of Aurora (and I had looked at the programme listing beforehand and knew that this special comes in at the end of the 2nd series). But seriously folks - I love this show! I might have to borrow series 1, 2 and 3 next time there is some bad weather and spend a day on the couch catching up with the Wests. And Cheryl/Robyn - is - so - hot - ! Also started watching 'An Officer and a Gentleman' but was too tired and headed off to bed sometime after the motel scene. Looked up the remainder of the plot on Wiki the next day (I know - BAD girl - just couldn't be bothered...).

Christmas this year has been lovely - lots of catching up with old friends and all the family has been around for the first time in ages - so Xmas Day was a lovely relaxing affair. And unlike the rest of the country, Christchurch had fine weather all day and only had the bad weather overnight...though I must say my sleep has been a bit crap what with the drinking combined with the overnight muggy head...arghhh. And today I officially have the sorest arms and neck in creation owing to the purchase of the new Wii game - Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 - which involved me and Phil dancing round the living room like demented barrel 'o' monkeys.

So seasons greetings to you all, hope you have all been able to spend time with family or friends over this past week and hope the New Year brings good things aplenty as well...


Friday, December 21, 2007


Originally uploaded by mellopuffy
Our first potatoes!* quote Gordon - "they'll make a nice salad!"

(* this many from three might be a little early to be pulling even our early croppers...)


Originally uploaded by mellopuffy
Seal seen on the beach between St Clair and St Kilda. Only spotted it when out walking when it flicked sand over itself with its flipper.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Xmas tree
Originally uploaded by mellopuffy

Curry night - wotcha!

So on Saturday night we headed to Chris and Debbie's for a curry night, along with Greg and Amy and baby Lucy. Chris and Debbie, from England, share our appreciation of curry, so on a previous get together the idea of having a curry night was floated and we arranged to squeeze it in before Christmas. (Note to self - do not attempt to make lemon curd prior to the 3 curries that you have planned when you have to go to work as well). The night was a real success, not least because Chris and Debbie take their curries seriously and we had a real selection to choose from... Greg and Amy contributed a surprisingly mild Lamb Vindaloo (previous experience with a Korma Masala mix from the same producer led to some restraint being shown with the spice mix), Chris and Debbie did Kerala Lamb and a Tomato, Spinach, Chickpea and Egg dish (the eggs were cracked into and 'poached' in the curry). We contributed a Rajma (Red Kidney Bean stew), Sag (Seasoned Pureed Greens), Simla Mirch Aur Gaajar Ki Sabji (Carrots in Bell Pepper sauce), and Naan. I also made a cucumber Raita and got hold of some Mango Chutney and Lime Pickle (mmmmmmmm). Our curries were made following recipes from 'Amma's Kitchen' which I picked up years ago but haven't had the opportunity to use yet. The cookbook is good as it was put together and printed in New Zealand, and all the ingredients used can be found here. Phil made the Naan using a recipe from Sophie Gray's 'Destitute Gourmet - more stunning food from small change' cookbook, which I cannot recommend more highly for home cooking on a limited budget.
Here's a shot of the aftermath:

We didn't make it home until 2ish..sooo glad I didn't get the 6am wake up call from work the next day *grin*

- Mel

I wish I was a lolcat...

Bella cute
Originally uploaded by mellopuffy

Surprisingly tasty

Following my induction into the delights of SaveMart, I went shopping the other day at the local asian supermarket with Summer. She picked up these vege treats to try and couldn't help a giggle at the promotional blurb on the packaging: they did taste good - will get some myself next visit...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lemon curd

Lemon curd
Originally uploaded by mellopuffy
Here's a piccie of the lemon curd I made this weekend with Sue's lovely lemons (golly I love homegrown lemons - makes the anaemic lemons from the supermarket look verily poor): very easy to make using the Jo Seagar recipe (which is very similar to the Edmonds lemon honey recipe but with a little less butter), but a word of warning - it will take you a good hour to an hour and a half as you have to bring the mixture to the heat quite slowly.

you need:
4 large lemons
100g butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten

Scrub and grate the rind of the lemons, then squeeze the juice. Put the strained juice plus the lemon rind into a small saucepan (I recommend one with a pouring lip). Add the butter in wee cubes, the sugar and finally the eggs, and stir together. Heat gently over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens (this will take a long time), then pour into hot sterilized jars. Allow to cool, put the lids and store in the fridge until needed (ie on your toast, or perhaps some yummy tarts or even a lemon meringue pie). Its quite important not to heat this up too quickly as then the eggs will curdle and you will have sweet lemony scrambled eggs! When the butter is melting into the mixture it does take on a strange slightly eggy look but don't worry - keep stirring and eventually the butter will melt entirely into the mix.

PS to sterilize your glass jars - heat with lids in 120C oven for 30 min or boil in water on your stove for 15 min.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Egg & Bacon Pie, Salad (with radishes)

Tonight, after a long day that began at 6.30am with the shrilling of the telephone (work asking me to go in), I made Egg & Bacon Pie - 1) because its easy and 2) they served it for lunch at the hospital today so I had a hankering for it. Remarkable too, because I managed to function through a full 8 hour shift with only 3 1/2 hours sleep (we went to Phil's work Christmas party last night and got to bed at 3am), then come home and collect myself sufficiently to make this:

You probably can't see it in this photo but in the salad (2 types of lettuce, rocket and coriander) we also had these babies:

The first radishes from our garden! I think that these are Pink Beauties. They were lovely and sweet....

Finally, the salad, following our decimation:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

OMG - Tired!

Wow ! -




Didn't sleep much last night on account of having to get up at 5.30ish as my new job started at 6.30 this morning, soooo I kept waking up every hour or so all night in that weird "i'm going to miss the alarm, strange worky dreams" type way.

Work was, well, FRICKING FULL ON!!!! - mostly lots of manual, worky type stuff which is kind of nice (ie you can just lose yourself in the sheer effort of it). The women I'm working with are all incredibly hard working, salt of the earth types who frankly intimidate the hell out of me - I am really conscious of not pulling my weight... but they were all so incredibly kind and helpful today really. I managed to keep my end up reasonably well whilst tray clearing etc. By lunch time my legs and hip were feeling pretty tender but by the end of the shift the pain had mostly gone away, to be replaced with that weird floaty 'I'm not quite with it' totally knackered feeling.

And I work with at least 3 women called Sharon ...

....I think I'm going to get varicose veins...

....I seriously need to get a full slip for underneath my fetching white smock...

I'm gonna go buy myself some fabulous comfy shoes for the purpose of standing around on concrete floors for 8 hours at a stretch tomorrow - does anyone have any suggestions?

But anyhoo, I've come home and cooked a yummy meal for Phil and I. Lamb racks with a lemon herb crust, roasted tatties and kumara, and hopefully a spinach and rocket herby salad (from our garden!). Here's a photo or two:

I think I might go to bed early tonight....

Mel -

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Well I did ask...

Wow - without putting any effort whatsoever, I appear to have gotten a job. After my depressing phone call yesterday morning (and subsequent post), I headed into town to top up my coffee supplies and get ingredients for breadmaking when I got a random phone call from the hospital kitchen. Was I still looking for work? So an hour or so after a somewhat casual meeting at the hospital today, I got a call from Annette to ask me to go in and fill some forms in on Monday, meet with the executive chef Sarah and that I might be starting as early as Tuesday etc. etc. OMG! Not really sure what I'll be doing exactly - something to do with the Diet Kitchen, distributing special meals for patients. The trail of good fortune that started in London continues..... I feel pretty blessed....