Archive for November, 2011

December 1, 2011

Today is the first day of summer…. it is also two years today that I had an endoscopy, during which the specialist discovered the damage to my gut that is only caused by celiac disease (flattened villi), the diagnosis of which changed my life… for the better 🙂

It is also three years today that we lost our Bella 😦

So – it is a funny old day here.

I’ve had a funny old week really. WordPress has been reluctant to let me into my own blog – insisting that my password is incorrect – then refusing to allow me to reset the password – then allowing me in, using the old password… humph!…

Rick’s back is still causing him problems, which mean he wakes me at 5am (which is when he gets up to start the commute to work – a commute that takes 5 minutes [and that is only if the two traffic lights he encounters are both red!]) so that I can help him to put on his socks…

I have spent the week going through cupboards and drawers, putting my winter clothes into storage, giving away things that I will never wear again… I find I am appalled at the amount of money I must have wasted over the years, on clothes I have never worn… I can’t imagine WHY I thought I needed 11 pairs (11!) of black trousers – though I blame that on my never-ending search for perfection – trying to find the one pair that makes me look good AND that are comfortable too! 🙂  The charity shops will benefit, so all is good.

Along with the clearing out, came the finding of Christmas decorations and putting them out again. I love Christmas trees, but we have cats – Yoshi who used to smack the beejeebers out of anything dangling off the end of a branch… and Bella, who would climb the inside of the tree – which always resulted in the thing crashing to the ground – so, this is what I do now…








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Last Day of Spring

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Sticky Date Pudding

We’ve had a funny old week. Rick has hurt his back and though he has had two visits to the physio, he is barely able to walk. And, being a man, he is not at his best when he is not feeling well. He has refused to take anything for the pain, and he has refused to have time off work to try and get the healing done faster. I suggest a heat pad… or a cold pack… I suggest yoga – the physio suggested yoga type exercises… will he do them? Na!


At least we managed to totter to the local school to cast our votes this morning, though it took us half an hour to get there! I’m so glad the politicking is over for now.


Sticky Date Pudding

People go quiet when they try this pudding – it’s that good. A friend asked for the recipe, which I gave her and she phoned to ask why I had left the amount of chocolate out of the recipe…. there is no chocolate in it, but it tastes as if there ought to be. This is so easy to make ahead – I usually pour the sauce carefully over the pudding ahead of time and then re-heat the whole thing as we’re eating the main course. Serve it with a blob of softly whipped cream oozing over the top.


Pre-heat the oven to 190c
Line a tin with baking paper.

185g stoned dates – the ones with no stones in the middle – NOT the ones that have been smoking something illegal…
250ml water – cook gently together until they reach a jam-like consistency (add a little more water if you need to)
Beat in the remaining ingredients and mix well:
60g butter – chopped
2 eggs
185g sugar
185g self-raising flour – or use the same measure of gluten-free flour (THEN – here’s the magic… take out one tablespoon of the flour, and put in one tablespoon of dessicated coconut – it makes for a gluten-free cake that doesn’t crumble, and a regular cake that is lovely and moist)
1/4 tsp vanilla

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake on the centre shelf for about 25 minutes or until cooked.
You can serve the following sauce separately.

150g brown sugar
150ml cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Put all the ingredients into a pan and boil for 5 minutes.

Serve the sauce over the pudding.
This was the first time I had made this using gluten-free flour. Rick said he couldn’t taste any difference – so I guess that is a great result! 🙂

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I have always envied my American friends for their Thanksgiving Holiday.

I think it is a lovely idea – to gather with friends and family, to say thank you… We don’t have anything similar here… something I think we will try to remedy – at least amongst our friends (I simply can’t imagine my family and friends together as a group… one would shock the knickers off the other… and I’m not sure which is which :-)!)

So, though we thought of this too late to be giving thanks at the same time as some of you, I am now in the middle of planning a dinner for ten, to be gluten-free – of course – which we’ll have here in the next couple of weeks (getting this gang together is like herding cats).

I’m not sure what I’ll cook yet – we have a couple of picky eaters, then there’s me with the gluten-free thing… we have someone who doesn’t eat desserts; someone who doesn’t eat a cold thing (salad) with a hot thing (anything!); someone who doesn’t eat tomatoes, someone who doesn’t eat seafood…. someone who is a combination of a couple of those things… good thing we all love each other!

Rick wants me to make Sticky Date Pudding. I haven’t made this since my celiac diagnosis – nearly two years ago, but it is cooking right now (he wants me to try each new recipe before I inflict it on our friends)… and today is grey and windy – it looks and sounds like a mid-winter day. A good day for pudding.

I’ll tell you tomorrow how it goes 🙂

Stop typing to let Percy in... via the window... why would he use the cat door???


I made fish cakes last night, using the recipe from http://www.marksdailyapple.com.  I can’t make the linky thing work – but the recipe is worth finding – it’s so easy… two tins of salmon, drained and flaked; two eggs, finely chopped onion, parsley, salt, pepper and you bind it all with coconut flour. I added some finely chopped capers and a some finely chopped pickled lemon peel…

Form it into balls and fry them – no pictures – we had a nice man come right on dinner-time to help fix the irrigation system (the nice man who built our fence managed to chop the pipes… twice!)

We had them with salad – using lettuce, rocket (arugula), sorrel, radish and herbs – all grown by our own clever selves.

Eat with a self-satisfied smile 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone


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I’m so excited!

I’ve used some of my wages from the last month… and bought myself a kindle!

BOOKS! … in 60 seconds… without having to even get dressed!!! Yeehah!

I hope I can make it go…

I’ve already bought a book by Alice Hoffman – called Illumination Night… 🙂


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How do you know summer is on the way?

It’s when 3 squitty-little zuchinni – birdie pecked zuchinni at that… fill your heart with delight! 🙂

It’s the simple things, right? XO

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Lemon Cake

Paleo people – look away now!

I made a cake for a friend’s birthday.  It was to share, and no-one but me needed to eat gluten-free… so, I was going to make this cake using ‘normal’ flour.

I had some ‘normal’ flour in my pantry (in case I decided to bake Rick his favourite shortcake – under desserts as Aila’s Shortcake… I can’t figure out how to do the linky thing).

I haven’t baked anything ‘normal’ since I discovered I have coeliac disease (nearly two years ago)… I had NO CLUE that flour would go ‘off’… but, by golly – it does 😦 – that’s not a smell I will forget in a hurry.

So anyway, I ended up making this using (the last of) a bag of gluten-free baking flour I also had in the pantry. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it is lovely – light, moist and fragrant with lemon. I had a piece… it gave me belly-ache (because the only grains I eat these days are rice, and that – not very often (and frankly, when I DO eat rice – I don’t much like it anymore) and grains are BAD for you people!

Here endeth the lesson – on with the recipe:


4 eggs
340g c sugar
zest of 2 lemons
whisk together till creamy,then add
180g plain flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
100g almond meal
1/2 tbsp baking powder
160 ml cream
whisk until smooth, then add
100g melted butter (cooled)
juice of 2 lemons
whisk again
Bake 160 – 180c till done
150g icing sugar
100g butter (room temperature)
beat together then add
zest and juice of 1 lemon
100g cream cheese (room temperature)
beat till smooth. Ice cake when it is cool, then dust with icing sugar

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There is a flock of green-finch in our neighbourhood at the moment. They seem to be feeding on little bugs and seeds they find in the lawn.

The cats are in heaven.

Yoshi killed TWO yesterday and is now under the covers, sleeping the sleep of the innocent…

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Pickled Lemon Peel

This is a recipe Ruth taught us at the recent class. As a caterer, she goes through an awful lot of lemons – growing most of them on the land they have at Te Horo. But, to everything there is a season – and that goes for lemons too.

Ruth says, for large events, menus are sorted very early – sometimes months ahead. For a recent event, they calculated they needed a massive amount of lemon zest – at a time when there would be no lemons on their own trees, so they would be forced to buy lemons.

So instead – every time they used a lemon, the chefs  were asked to take the zest off and to put it into containers in the freezer. By the time the event came around they had kilos… KILOS… of lemon zest in the freezer. I can’t remember how many kilos Ruth said… around 37 I think…. I can’t even imagine 37 kilos of lemon zest. But I was really impressed at the planning involved in catering an event. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that – imagine the freezer space that would take…

So, that’s one idea for preserving lemon peel.

One of the side dishes we ate at the Christmas class was a salad of Quinoa with a whole lot of yummy additions – cranberries, pistachios, cinnamon… and this pickled lemon peel – finely chopped.

I love to eat  Middle-Eastern style food.  I have often preserved lemons in salt. You preserve the whole lemon, but only use the peel. This method is quite different, but really good.

Use a vegetable peeler to take the peel off 4 lemons – you don’t want any white pith. Put the peel into a small bowl and add 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup salt, 1 chopped red chilli (take the seeds out), and 3 fresh bay leaves (I used dried chilli and dried bayleaves.

Stir everything up, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Tip it all into a sieve and rinse it under the cold tap to take off all the salt.

Then tip it into a clean tea towel and dry it completely.

Pack it into a clean jar and cover everything with extra virgin olive oil.

The pickle will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.


The lemon added a lovely, fresh zing to the quinoa salad. It would be great with couscous (if you can eat that kind of thing), I imagine it would be just as good with rice too. I’m going to cook chicken for dinner tonight and I’ll chop some lemon pickle on top of that.

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More Cats

Sorry – I know this is supposed to be a recipe blog, but Kyoko sent some photos… including one that I had not seen before and which made me laugh, then cry.

Animals! They break your heart don’t they?

Thank you Kyoko XXXOOO

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