Friday, 20 May 2011

Beauty and rocks

I will own a cat and not fear being called a witch, I will dance and not fear being named a whore. I shall ride my horse and go where I please. I shall sore like a gyrfalcon. I shall live my own life and please myself. I shall be a free woman.
It is no small thing, this, for a woman: freedom.
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

So the other day I was out exploring the
Port Hills and I couldn't help but think about what a beautiful city I live if I hadn't already worked that one out! It reminded me of the nice chat I had with the lady serving me at the chemist today.

Looking down over my new city from Summit Road

Down the bottom of the valley there was some pretty impressive rockfall which I briefly considered taking some photos of but my desire not to hang around was stronger! Most of the time I don't feel fazed by earthquakes (I was in the process of joining the library earlier this week when there was a rather large shake and we all just carried on with life as though it wasn't happening - the guy signing me up didn't even bat an eyelid) but every now and then I get a little panicked and this was one of those moments...and I didn't even require the earth to shake!

But since you are normally here to see some food I will oblige with some chocolate.
Whittaker's Ghana Peppermint chocolate to be exact (man, their new website makes me crave chocolate really bad). This was the chocolate I carried with me on the plane here in case I needed that support that only chocolate can give! One of my old flatmates told me that even the Wilderness magazine says you should not leave home without chocolate so it must be as magical as I always thought!

I totally adore this chocolate. In fact, it is dangerous to have around. I gave a block to my parents once. They said never again. It's that, well, "bad" for us peppermint lovers!! Of course, if you are trying to avoid eating it you could just make
mint slice with it right?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Stuffed with stuff

A parcel, taken from one place to another, handed from one owner to another, unwrapped and bundled up at will is all that I am.
The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

So many things to talk about!! But because I can't decide where to start we'll just focus on dinner last night...

M went to the fruit and veggie shop after work and came home with a huge bag of capsicums so naturally there was only one thing to do (okay fine, I’m sure there were lots of things we could have done but only one came to mind at that point), stuff them.

It turned out rather delicious so I thought I’d attempt to give you the recipe...but then I realised that my cooking method is very much the “bit of this” and “handful of that” approach so these amounts that I’ve made up below are probably hopelessly incorrect! Oh, and you end up with more mixture than required but then again you can always make more or just eat the mixture by itself. It's quite tasty.

Stuffed Capsicums
Serves 4 (of us...don't know about you guys though)
  • Rice (mixture of brown and white) - about 1 - 1 1/2 rice cooker scoops
  • a large handful of sultanas
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 8 button mushrooms (?), diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sweet basil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • a handful of chopped spinach
  • a small handful of pumpkin seeds
  • a dash of sweet chilli sauce
  • a sprinkle of yeast flakes (savoury yeast)
  • 4 capsicums, halved and de-seeded (we had a couple of large red ones and a couple of smaller yellow ones)

Set some rice cooking with the sultanas (I used the rice cooker).

In a frypan, heat some oil and fry the onion. Add the mushroom and cook for about a minute then add the cumin, paprika, coriander and basil and cook for another minute. Add the carrot and tomato and fry until almost cooked then add the chickpeas, spinach, pumpkin seeds and sweet chilli sauce. You can add salt and pepper at this stage too but we tend to add ours individually when dinner is served. Take off the heat.

Add the cooked rice mixture to the chickpea mixture and mix together. Spoon the mixture into the halved capsicums until basically overflowing (you can pile it quite high and press it in). Sprinkle some yeast flakes (savoury yeast) on the top of each one.

Bake in the oven at 200°C for about 25 minutes.


Monday, 9 May 2011


You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

So, I did say there was some big stuff happening and today is the big day! Today I will be on a plane moving to Christchurch. Depending on who you talk this is either exciting, crazy (often rephrased in a more positive light as brave) or scary. Or a combination. I think it's exciting although I have been through the whole range of emotions in the last few weeks (especially in the last few days). Despite the earthquake and everything sometimes you've just got to dive into life no matter what.

Anyway, because I am the most useless blogger ever I have no photos of my awesome leaving meals but I will tell you about them anyway! First up was a lovely evening hanging out with my cousins and watching a bit of the royal wedding. We ordered rather excessive amounts of pizza from
Hell and my aunty made a delicious crumble. Yay!

There was also my last day of work where my boss took me out for lunch at
Landreth & Co on Ponsonby Road. The lady at the counter was super helpful at working out what they could make for me and I ended up with a huge bowl of pasta with bountiful amounts of tomato, spinach and basil. It was so good. We also got through two bowls of fries. Is that bad to admit? It was 3pm by the time we had lunch though...!!

But the most exciting and awesome meal was my farewell dinner at the flat! My flatmates are so awesome and put together the coolest dinner ever. Basically it was make your own rice paper rolls but the spread of things we could put in them was incredible. So many different veggies and fruit as well as rice noodles, tofu and sauces. I ate so many it was a bit ridiculous. Then for dessert I made the Mocha Melt Cake (but gluten-free for the lovely H) from
Have Your Cake and Eat It Too (in the rice cooker!!!) which I served with banana ice cream (frozen bananas, a bit of soy milk and vanilla essence all blended up together...SO good). I am really going to miss all these guys. Best flat and flatmates in the entire world. Ever. Seriously.

And then (because I can't stay away) I ended up back at my flat for my final night in Auckland because, well, I really didn't want to say goodbye! They cooked up this awesome Indian curry along with a beautiful dahl soup which I will have to attempt to recreate at some point. It was perfect. And then I rushed out before any of us could start crying!! From one home to another...

So the next post will be from my new home!! How cool is that?!

Monday, 2 May 2011

V is for vegetables

I wish I had remembered, as she taught me, that it is easier to unleash evil than call it back again. Any fool can blow up a wind, but who can know where it will blow or when it will stop?
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Sometimes all you feel like is a big, hearty dose of vegetables. It is a weird thing. You see, it doesn't feel like all that long ago that the only vegetables I liked were carrot sticks and frozen peas (yes, only if they were frozen!). In reality that was well over a decade ago but sometimes I don't feel very old and wonder where the time has gone. Nowadays though, I adore vegetables. If there is one thing that I crave it is a huge vegetable stirfry or similar.

What about carrot sticks (harking back to my childhood), grilled eggplant, wild rice and barley (care of my flatmate), panfried tofu and a mixture of in season stir-fried veggies to help with those cravings?

I think that photo is making me hungry just looking at it. Tragic and probably also a sign my breakfast just didn't cut it this morning.

Most weeks my veggie box has had some kind of leafy green (various different types of kale, silverbeet, some other random one that I'd never heard of before and promptly forgot the name of but was delicious...) and I discovered my favourite way to cook them up was to chop them up and stirfry them with some onion and, maybe, some other vegetables I might have sitting around and served on a bed of brown rice. My new favourite comfort food.

As you might have noticed from the last two photos, I also have been having a lot of plain (well, salt and pepper) panfried tofu. I think because so much has been going on and I've been a bit stressed plain food has been the kind of thing I've craved the most.

Another way to get a whole heap of veggies is to whip up a curry...although with this one I think we ended up with too much coconut cream so it was super rich. I was eating leftovers for days afterwards though which was awesome.

Oh, and in case you didn't know, leftover curry is also great on toast and you can mop up the extra sauce with bread. Delicious!

How about a sandwich stuffed full of veggies and tofu? Especially good after a long mountain bike ride with some monster hills. Another good way to pack in those vegetables.

A few weeks ago I was on a real sandwich kick and was making these pretty much every day. The thing that makes them even more awesome is chutney and my current favourite is sundried tomato and olive. Mum made a couple of different feijoa chutneys too (feijoa and ginger and feijoa and chilli) but I haven't opened them yet.

Another sneaky, but delicious, way to get some veggies is in these awesome muffins from
The Damn Tasty Guide to Vegan Baking. I use this book so much that it is falling apart and some pages have stuck together from when I've spilt stuff on it!

These are even more delicious slightly warmed with margarine and a salad. Ooo, this is making me want to bake up another batch!!