Archive for July, 2011

I bought coconut flour the other day.  I’ve read so many recipes on the interweb that use the stuff, and I can’t be left out.

It was very expensive. It has been in my pantry, minding its own business – until today.

I’ve been lurking around the edges of Erica’s blog for ages. Erica comes from Seattle –  LOTS of food bloggers seem to live there, or thereabouts…. must be something in the water?

Erica posted about cinnamon muffins http://comfybelly.com/2011/07/cinnamon-bun-muffins/#more-6226

Erica used almond flour, which I have run out of, but she suggested a variation using coconut flour…


I love the scent of cinnamon… and vanilla (I love that some of the poshest perfumes smell like vanilla on me, if they would make a perfume that smelled like coffee – I’d be a starter as coffee always smells better than it tastes… in my opinion 🙂 )

My kitchen now smells like all these things (and earlicheer daffodils)

Now I’m just waiting for the coffee to be ready… wish you were here…

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Diet Update

Well – I’m still doing it.

I haven’t weighed myself for weeks. I found it a bit depressing, when the tapemeasure moved two whole inches around my waist, but the scales didn’t show any change !!!!!!!!

I haven’t lost any more inches lately, but I have noticed (and other people have also noticed), that my face is thinner – Hello cheekbones :-), I have gentle muscles appearing in my arms and legs, I no longer look pregnant and – miracle of miracles – HIPBONES! Not that they are showing yet, but I can feel them. I had thought they were gone forever 🙂 oh, and collarbones are showing themseves too! All this without any formal exercise. Exercise makes me sweat – which is not ladylike – snrk!

More good news – my arthriticky pains have gone and my gut issues are no longer a problem – I’m thinking about throwing away my list of places that have loos for public use – though I’m a little bit afraid to do that 🙂

This diet is really easy to follow. I don’t feel the smallest bit hungry, which is such a change, because I used to be ALWAYS thinking about food.

I haven’t converted Rick yet – in fact he gets quite grumpy when I mention the word ‘diet’. So, I don’t. He eats junk food while he is at work, and buys muffins and cakes for himself at the weekend, which I can’t eat anyway due to the celiac disease thing. That’s fine with me. I’m not even tempted by that sort of thing because I get so sick if I eat anything with gluten in these days (the longer I am gluten free, the worse the reaction when I do get glutened)

If you’d like to learn more about it – check out www.marksdailyapple.com Mark has just turned 58 and by golly he looks good. Of course he works out – something I simply cannot imagine me ever doing – though I might be tempted to take my camera for a walk around the neighbourhood at some stage… 🙂




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My favourite cooking magazine was delicious. , I say was because I think I have beaten my magazine addiction!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve found so many great recipes on the internet – things my new friends are making and recommending, that I don’t need magazines anymore. Which is great – more space on my bookshelves (room for another addiction? snrk) , but not great, in that it’s difficult to put post-it-notes on my lap-top (though I’m sure I’ll figure it out… eventually)

In the meantime, there are still recipes from delicious. (an award winning Australian magazine) that I want to try. This one has been post-it marked for a while now. I find I get stuck with a few favourite recipes and they tend to go into a high rotate, but I’m getting a bit tired of chicken thighs wrapped in bacon – I know *spoiled*, so I thought I’d try this one.

This is a Nigella Lawson recipe that was published in delicious. in July 2004. I changed it a little – to suit what I had – and because I don’t much like turmeric, I used less than in Nigella’s recipe.

Chicken Tikka (Nigella makes a hot red onion relish to go with it, which would be good, but I didn’t have most of the ingredients)


2 garlic cloves

5cm piece of fresh ginger – peeled

1 small red chilli – seeds removed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used light olive oil)

1 cup plain yoghurt.

Whizz the garlic, ginger and chilli together until finely chopped

Add the other ingredients and whizz to combine. Add some salt and pepper.

Pour over chicken pieces (I used chicken thighs – bone in/skin off), stir to coat in the marinade and leave in the fridge at least 4 hours (or overnight)

Bring the chook to room temperature.

Melt some butter in a pan, add chicken and cook over medium-low heat till done (you don’t want to cook it too high, because the yoghurt will burn). I baked mine in the oven, Nigella suggested using a frypan.

We had ours with salad leaves, avocado and some steamed rice, and we squeezed some extra lemon juice over the chicken.

This recipe is really, really good. It is gently spicy – not at all scary. Marinating the chicken in yoghurt makes the chicken very moist and tender.

I wish I’d made this years ago.

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We spent the weekend in my favourite city – Wellington.

You can’t beat Wellington on a good day… sadly – the weather was horrible. But we had a lovely time visiting with old friends who have a lovely old home in Wadestown. We were really impressed with ourselves, because we navigated ourselves there with no problems at all 🙂

In the afternoon I rugged up and took to the streets, while Rick watched the rugby (and was sound asleep when I got back to our room!)

I took the camera with me, because on a previous visit I found this…

My darling has his own sign! 🙂

He is not surprised.

Any excuse to insert a photo of him...

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There are good things about trying new recipes.

One. There is one less post-it note to deal with…

so many recipes - so little time...

Two.  Uhm…

Last night’s dinner smelled really good as it was cooking… and it looked really good…

however, it was way too salty.

I should have known – 250ml of soy sauce is a LOT of soy sauce (and since it was a gluten free soy sauce it was blimmin expensive


It was edible, but it had us both up in the night grabbing lots of drinks of water – and I had really strange dreams – of wedding dresses and babies dressed up as bumble bees !!!!!!!

I do NOT want to know what this dream means - thank you!

The recipe was an Ooops! BUT, I’ve now realised what I did wrong and I think I have fixed it. The basic flavour was nice, just the salt content was way too high – it should be ok now. If anyone risks it – please let me know how it goes 🙂

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I wish you could smell my kitchen right now.

I put this on to cook first thing this morning, and now the aromas of star anise and ginger are all through the house.

It is another glorious day, but it started out cold – no frost this morning, but we must have come close. I’ve gotten two loads of laundry all-but dry on the line outside, and I’ve spent the afternoon painting Wet n Forget (a moss and mould remover) onto our deck. A few weeks ago our next-door-neighbour came to visit. She slipped on our deck – gouged a huge hole in her shin (seriously, I could see the bone!), and broke her shoulder in three places. She is 83 and one of the bravest and best women I know.

Fortunately she is healing really well and though she didn’t slip on a mossy bit, we thought we would clean the whole deck up as we don’t want another such accident. I had to do it at a time when the deck would dry before the cats walked on it. So, with Percy asleep in Rick’s chair and Yoshi still tucked under the blankets in our bed (having been silently, but comprehensively sick – on the bed – in the middle of the night(!) – thanks little mate ), I started painting the deck.

So it is really nice to come inside to be greeted by these delicious smells…

UPDATE: When I made this I made a mistake converting the recipe to be made in the slow-cooker… I know you have to use less liquid, so I reduced the amount of stock, but did NOT reduce the amount of soy sauce. I am an idiot – no WONDER it was so salty! I’ve updated the recipe – it should work now!….

2kg beef cut into biggish pieces – I used blade steak

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

45ml gluten free soy sauce (3 tbsp)

2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

4 star anise

4 cinnamon quills

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper – or you could use Szechuan pepper

1 medium red chilli – split lengthways, I took the seeds out. If you like things a bit spicy you can leave them in.

Beef stock

Bung everything into the slow-cooker and stir it all up with an immaculately clean hand.

Cook it till you want it.

I will fish out the whole spices, thicken it, put some fresh home-grown coriander (cilantro) on top and serve it with some steamed rice and broccoli

The coriander and parsley are doing really well outside our back door

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When we planted this magnolia it was the same height as me. 5’4″ . Now it’s HUGE. And confused.

It’s not spring yet….

My Great-Grandmother used to say, if you have roses and camelias in your garden, you will have flowers all year round

This camelia is in our front garden and is about 100 years old


Gran with her grand-children (my mum is on the right)


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Alone Again

We have the most glorious day!

It’s still cold of course – it is winter after all 🙂 , but there is just the slightest breeze and the sky is so clear and blue… BLUE!

The painter has finished and the house is my own again. The windows look great!

While the painter was here, I hid in the warm and read. I love to read – have loved reading since I was little – Mum says she was never sure it was a good idea that I learned to read, because once I found books, I didn’t need people any more.

This is what I’m reading now (re-reading actually. I often re-read the books I love – do you?)

Kate De Goldi is a New Zealand writer. This is the first of her books I have read (she usually writes for young adults).

This is the most utterly charming book I have ever read. What’s it about? “Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man: an apparently sensible, talented Year 8 with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head…”  “A tender, beautifully told and endearing story. By the end, you’ll wish you had a Frankie Parsons of your own.”

I can thoroughly recommend it.

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We have horizontal rain today. Rain and hail. We don’t get snow in Palmerston North – thank goodness – snow is overrated, I think. Nice to look at, but a serious stinker to live with. Rain, hail and WIND on the other hand… no worries! 🙂

Our painter is back. He can’t work outside, so is back at our place painting the windows that were recently double-glazed. Insulating and double-glazing are relatively new concepts in NZ. As a child we just put on an extra sweater in winter. But, because the painter is in and out – the house is open and so colder than normal.

Percy is ignoring his fear of strangers and is firmly settled in Rick’s chair by the heater. Yoshi however, is hiding outside somewhere in the cold. Poor little silly  – he will appear this evening, but will be out in the cold again for the next few days – or however long this all takes.

on my knee, yesterday

I am back into the Caveman diet thing again, having bent the rules with wine and chocolate recently. I’m still finding the diet works really well in that I am simply not hungry, not craving anything (other than wine and chocolate!) But, we have a ‘thing’ to go to next month. And I want my friends to ‘notice’ if you get my meaning.

I am, at last, tired of being the ‘fat one’ in our group. I’ll still be the deeply unfashionable one – THAT I couldn’t care less about! 🙂

I made this for dinner last night. It is, as are all my favourite recipes, pretty low fuss.

Chicken with Peas and Bacon

Chicken thighs – ours were bone in, skin off

leek – washed and sliced – or you could use onion

bacon – I used 4 rindless rashers – chopped

garlic – the original recipe doesn’t use garlic, but there is something about the scent of garlic, onion and bacon that makes my mouth water.

150ml chicken stock – I didn’t have enough, so I put in a good slug of white wine too

juice of 1 orange

frozen peas – about 100g – though I never measure them

Melt some butter in a large frypan and cook the bacon and leek for a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook until you’re drooling over the smell of all this goodness.

Nestle the chicken pieces in amongst it – if your chicken pieces have skin on, cook them first, skin-side down until golden. Flabby chicken skin looks unappetizing (a bit like me, on a beach, without a tan…)

Pour the stock and orange juice over and bung the pan in the oven at around 200c.

When the chicken is nearly cooked add the peas. If you want to thicken it, now’s the time. You could use a cornflour slurry.

Season to taste.

We ate ours with a sweet-potato mash.

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Happy Birthday Boys!

This year Rick turned 60.

Many of his friends do too. We spent a long weekend with his school friend Steve, his wife Jo and their fur children Lump, Baz, Mr Puss and Tiggie (four cats – not fair – I’m only allowed two!).

Steve and Jo live in Arrowtown, which is about a half hour drive from NZ’s adventure capital Queenstown in NZ’s South Island. Adventure does not appeal to me – never has. I am a comfort loving creature. I suspect I was a cat in another life. This weekend was spent in complete comfort with good friends, surrounded (or covered) in cats, open fire roaring.

It snowed on Saturday night. I’ve never been snowed on. For your information – snow is beautiful. And cold. And wet. Who knew??

Snow is also inconvenient. It closed the airport. Our flight was cancelled. Jo organised a hire car and alternative flights and we drove 2 hours to Invercargill at the bottom of the South Island, then flew home via Christchurch. The journey was uneventful, through beautiful country and we finally got safely home. Thank you Jo for being – not only a great hostess, who was SO careful to make sure that nothing would make me unwell foodwise, but also turned out to be a fine travel agent. Thanks to Steve for being a great host and tour guide, and also for getting us safely into town despite the snow. And thank you both for the loan of the cats. My love especially to Baz who joined us in bed in the early hours, and to Tiggie for all the schmoozy cuddly charm. We must not let it be 10 years before we see each other again. xxx

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