Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A nak'd trek?

Was it her imagination, or did he seem slightly less thrilled to see her than she was to see him? No matter; men were silly about things like public displays of affection."
- T
he Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig

I arrived home last night cold and wet after some training in the rain to discover a package waiting for me inside. I was so excited that I started opening right there and then, all the while dripping on the carpet! Yay, my package swap from Emma of
Student Vegan from the UK had arrived (Emma, I hope mine hasn't got lost in the mail!). It totally made my night!

The package was filled with a whole lot of bars from
Natural Balance Foods which we can't get here in New Zealand, an apple pie lara bar and some stir-fry sauce. It all looked so delicious and I can't wait to try everything.

Now over the weekend we've been down at a place called
Mountain Valley which is, if you know your way around New Zealand, between Napier and Taupo off SH5. We stayed in this gorgeous little A-frame chalet looking down towards the Mohaka River.

The scenery was so beautiful and everything was so peaceful and still...but I wasn't down there for a relaxing weekend. My team and I were down there for the
Macpac Autumn Challenge Women's Adventure Race, quite the opposite of relaxing and peaceful!

The race starts off with a mad dash to the rafts where you pair up with another team and paddle 18km down the Mohaka River. It's incredibly scenic but it's difficult to take in with burning arms and the sound of your rafting guide pushing you to paddle faster!

Once at the end of the rafting you've then got to hop on your bike for a very steep ride/push pretty high up into the surrounding mountains before decending back down to the river for the final stage.

The last section (our team's strength) is on foot where you must navigate yourself to the checkpoints marked on your maps and then back to the finish. We made it back just as the light was beginning to fade to be greeted by the cheers of our support crew and the wafting smell of dinner being cooked. Awesome :)

After the race they provided dinner which, unlike last year, had some great vegetarian options. I fueled up on vege burgers and an awesome curried rice...much needed after a hard day's racing. No pictures but trust me, it was delicious!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

It's Kiwifruit not Kiwi

Humanity's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.
Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

This is a kiwi. You don't eat it.

The kiwi is a flightless bird endemic to New Zealand (a New Zealander is also called a Kiwi which tends to confuse people a bit).

This is NOT a kiwi. It's a kiwifruit (or a chinese gooseberry), a fruit, you eat it. More specifically, the kiwifruit above is actually a golden kiwifruit rather than your regular kiwifruit. It is not a flightless bird or a New Zealander. New Zealanders are not named after a fruit, we are named after our native bird.

Okay, lesson over now.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Make it quick and make it painless

Happily ever after - so how does that work?
The heart of a recipe, what makes it work, is a mystery. Taste is such a personal thing and yet the right recipe can open a person's mind to a food they thought they didn't like. Then again, you can put all the right ingredients together, follow the instructions exactly, and still have a disaster on your hands.
Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Morag Prunty

This week has not exactly been the best but that doesn't mean you can't have good food.

For those lazy days when you want tofu but the thought of having to prepare it all yourself seems too much, Bean Supreme make a mean marinated Hoisin and Sesame tofu. So good. Also great sliced thinly and baking in the oven for sandwiches.

I spent the whole of the Easter weekend doing (surprise surprise)...

Every Easter is the National Orienteering Championships in New Zealand and this year it was held at my home turf of Auckland. Apart from the first day with the sprint race through the Auckland Uni Teachers College campus in Epsom the events were held up at Woodhill forest, one of my favourite places.

Below is a glimpse of the spectator control for the relay event.

You've gotta fuel up when you're spending your whole weekend out in the forest and I always looked forward to my lunch after the race that day (lunch being a loose term here since most of my races started around lunchtime so I couldn't eat properly until nearly 3pm)...

...a sandwich filled with heaps of veges and baked tofu. Perfect

Then by the time I'd get home (our club was helping so I'd be out there pretty late each day) I'd be exhausted so it was time for a quick and easy dinner...! Chuck all your veges and sauce and stuff on a spinach wrap, stick it in the oven, and voila!

I wasn't totally without sweet treats though...J was away all Easter but he did leave me with something special before he went...dark chocolate eggs filled with marzipan. Delicious!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Run run as fast as you can...

Most people, on waking up, accelerate through a quick panicky pre-consciousness check-up: who am I, where am I, who is he/she, good god, why am I cuddling a policeman's helmet, what happened last night?
Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

The "night before" tofu - my favourite satay tofu :)

We were just getting off the ferry as the marathon started so I managed to get a shot of the tail-end of the runners making their way up the first of several hills (you can probably barely see them in this shot - like ants on the horizon).

race started an hour later up that very same hill. I found this blog entry about the race - pretty much sums it up really. I saw a few people tumble on the scoria on Rangitoto - it's very rough terrain over there.

Anyway, the race was awesome but we were pretty exhausted afterwards and spent ages waiting for room on a ferry to get back so luckily for us my parents invited us over for a 3-course dinner so all we had to do was sit down and eat! Mum had made fresh bread for the entree, this sweet and sour tofu dish on rice for the main course, and a chocolate self-saucing pudding for dessert complete with soy ice cream (okay, J and I swung by the supermarket on the way to their house and picked up my favourite Lite Licks Hokey Pokey ice cream so she didn't make that but still...).

The "night after" tofu - sweet and sour tofu made by Mum!

Last week was rather crazy and exhausting but I did manage a dinner out with a good friend of mine at The Blue Bird.

I got the Tropical Chickpea Curry on kumara ('cause I can't resist every time I go there even if the dish would be way better on rice or something else!).

We had to save room for dessert of course...

I'd love to tell you that both these dessert bowls were mine but alas, I had to share! They make an awesome apple crumble with soy ice cream.

Nothing like a spot of mountain biking to put you in good spirits though...

...or a delicious oaty slice filled with berries from Revel to brighten a day at work :)