Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Let's burn fat, not oil

The timbers of the house, like the bones of an ageing person had 'settled' and shrunk, as the years acting like a wine-press had squeezed out their substance.
The Carpathians by Janet Frame

Saturday was date night. After going to the gym then relaxing in the spa afterwards J and I headed off to
Gina's, an Italian Pizza and Pasta restaurant that is famous for being very loud! I ordered their Alla Salute, a vegan pizza covered in garlic, onions, capers, artichoke, olives, basil, rocket and fresh chili.

It was pretty yummy but I can make better pizzas at home...the atmosphere was pretty funny though.

After dinner we headed up the
Sky Tower to look over New Zealand's biggest city at night then ended the night with sorbet on Queen Street under some outdoor heating.

Delicious (and don't you just love the peacock they put on it? I'd started demolishing it before I remembered to take a photo).

If you ever visit Auckland I will give you one word of warning, it is NOT cycle-friendly. In fact it's a total nightmare. J and I are pretty pro having something done about this so the opportunity to join the
protest about getting cycle and pedestrian lanes on the harbour bridge was a no brainer. The Auckland Harbour Bridge (50 years old this week) is what bridges the city to the North Shore. It's chaos during rush hour as there is no other feasible way across (other than ferries).

Several thousand of us gathered on the city-side of the bridge hoping the Transport Agency would say yes and let us cross. Unfortunately they wouldn't budge in their decision but after the leader of the protest announced that we were not to use force but there wasn't enough police to hold everyone (try like 20 police officers just trying to make sure no one got run over!) the crowd pushed through onto the bridge ending up blocking every North-bound lane across.

Oh my god the bridge is awesome! Okay, so I've driven over it countless times but it is nothing compared to crossing it on foot. The views of the harbour are incredible and it's pretty cool to see the structure up close. There are places where you can see all the way down to the water below. Here's a video of the bridge crossing too.

Memorable quotes of the day have to be, "Let's burn fat, not oil" and "Less talk, more walk."

After the last couple of days you could be forgiven for thinking that Auckland is a city of protests with the Auckland Harbour Bridge protest on Sunday and the
Auckland Super City Hikoi on Monday (hikoi being a Maori word meaning protest march or parade...more here if you're interested).

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

All my shoes are muddy

All things are defined by names. Change the name, and you change the thing. Of course there is a lot more to it than that, but paracosmically that is what it boils down to...
Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Yes, my shoes did used to be white but I ran through some mud when they were quite new and never quite got around to cleaning them properly! I am SO tired. Working on speed/sprint training at the moment which is not something I enjoy. The long distance event in orienteering is my specialty where endurance (and navigation but that's rather obvious and the same for any distance), rather than speed, is the key!

Things haven't been so good round here lately but when I got home last night and discovered another package for me sitting on the stairs (which J promptly ran off with and hid under his shirt and I had to wrestle him for it!) I was so excited. I ripped it open to discover...

...a whole lot of Cocoa Loco bars!
Emma, you've totally brightened up my week so thank you.

I've been going to a vegan cooking class taken by
Alice of Angel Foods and last week we were looking at the different grains and ways of cooking them. I was so inspired by the pearl barley dish she made that I promptly went and created my own variation the following evening.

Warming, filling, healthy, delicious plus it made leftovers for the freezer. Awesome! We also covered this really delicious quinoa salad which I can't wait to make despite the fact it's winter and totally not salad weather!

Last night's dinner was a little adventure. J's aunty had given us 2
chayotes which, for a start, I've never heard of let alone eaten before. At least she gave us instructions on how to cook it otherwise I would have had no idea. Obviously this was perfect for Katie's New Foods Challenge.

The chayote is the vegetable that looks like pear slices (hence another name for it, the vegetable pear). What did I think? It wasn't anything particularly special but not bad for a little variation from the same old vegetables in the stir fry.

And lastly,
Free-Range Tofu...

Monday, 11 May 2009

Raindrops are falling on my head

A hug may be accompanied by a moment of stillness. Or it may include expressions of pleasure, like these:
That's nice.
Thank you. I needed that.
- The Little Book of Hugs by Kathleen Keating

It is cold, wet and pretty darn miserable here at the moment - winter has made their arrival well and truly noticed. Since Friday it has rained most of the time which means it's kept me awake most of the night (my bedroom is in the attic so rain on the roof is pretty loud).

But despite the rain one can still enjoy good food. Let me introduce you to a little slice of heaven I enjoyed recently...

Peanut Butter Midnight Pie from Revel. Umm, to say that I enjoyed it would probably be quite an understatement.

Another highlight of the week (well, that would be last week since I'm too disorganised to work out what's happening with this week yet)...

...tofu stir-fry with enough leftovers for my lunch. Ah, leftovers. Seriously, they can make a dull workday bright again!

Soup, of course, really hits the spot once the weather turns sour.

Pumpkin, kumara and lentil soup with essene bread I managed to score from my cooking class. Man, soup almost makes winter worth suffering through!

As for the package I got, I've nearly managed to eat through it already (there's only 1 thing left)! Everything is SO delicious although the fruit-flavoured Nakd bars are a bit sweet for me. My favourite so far is the Nakd Cocoa Loco which made good fuel after orienteering on Sunday...although I had to share a good portion of it with J and Mum.

No, I didn't eat them both at once and trying to decide which apple pie I was going to try first (I was just heading out on my bike, hence the gloves but needed a snack with me). But which one did I like best? Personally I thought the Lara bar apple pie tasted better. Perhaps it was the nutmeg or something like that in the Nakd Apple Pie but the taste wasn't quite as nice.