Tuesday, September 30, 2014


This isn't my fudge, this is the picture that accompanies the recipe (link in the text.) Mine turned out
exactly like this, only not so neat (which is why I didn't photograph it.)
I was puttering about in the kitchen and found a bag of raw cacao powder in the back of the pantry. I don't know how long it had been there, I certainly don't remember buying it. I decided I had better use it up as it was getting close to its "use by" date and found a suitable recipe on Eleanor Ozich's website petite-kitchen.com, which has some interesting recipes though they are mostly a bit too "healthy" for me. I followed the recipe more or less exactly: just mixing together a cup each of cacao powder and coconut oil, half a cup of honey, and a splash of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. Bunged it in the freezer for 20 minutes and voila! Sweet deliciousness, and easy and quick. Perfect when you need a chocolate hit. "One piece is enough" says Eleanor. She lies. One piece is not enough. Five pieces were not enough. Now I feel sick.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Benedict Cumberbatch cannot say the word "penguins". This made me laugh this morning.

Cat? What cat?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blog redux

It's the first day of Daylight Savings Time here in New Zealand, which is as good a reason as any to revive this moribund blog, after being inundated with requests (ie, two lovely people) to start blogging again.

I had the radio on as usual while making my morning coffee and I was interested to learn that the practice of DST is generally credited to New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, who introduced the idea in 1895, because he wanted more time for bug hunting in the evenings. So having a magpie mind and time on my hands (which makes me a good person to have on a quiz team), I consulted Google and found that Benjamin Franklin also came up with the idea over a century earlier, in 1784.

I now have to figure out how to reset the clock on my new stove (a Westinghouse), which means I have to track down the manual.  I always keep manuals and instructions and the like in a safe place, I just have to remember where the hell it is. I have a good memory when it comes to facts, my magpie brain retains all manner of random trivia, but I'm hopeless on the minor stuff (and getting worse every day.) I have a feeling I am not alone in this.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I miss the stars

When I moved from the city to my isolated rural hillside all those years ago, I was overwhelmed by the clarity of the night sky. It was so dark! So vast! And so many stars! I moved from a 9 in the chart above, to a 1. On really clear nights I used to drag a rug and cushion outside and simply gaze at the night sky, just for the pleasure of it. And now I am back in an urban environment, not the inner  city but near enough...a 7 in the chart. It never gets really dark. I don't regret moving back to town, I love living here, but... I miss the stars.

In 1994 an earthquake knocked out the power in Los Angeles. Many residents called emergency centres to report a strange "giant silvery cloud" in the dark sky. That giant silvery cloud was the Milky Way, which many residents were seeing for the first time. Light pollution is stealing the night sky. Something to think about, especially this week (April 20 - 26) which is International Dark Sky Week. 
Astrophotographer Mark Gee has made this video, mostly shot in Wellington and the Wairarapa. Watch it on full screen - it's beautiful.

City Lights To Dark Skies - International Dark Sky Week 2014 from Mark Gee on Vimeo. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Love story

A wedge of Kikorangi blue and a glass of Hawkes Bay Merlot/Malbec. The perfect nightcap.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bad font

In a garden centre near you. This is the same font that baffled me a little while ago. ( See here.) It must be the preferred font for sign writers. I bet they do it on purpose.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Soup for lunch

I went to our little local market in the weekend and got all these lovely veg for $6.00. Not bad, I reckon. Then I had a bit of a browse around the stalls and found these soup dishes - not old or special, I just like the shape and the lemons on the rim. They were only a dollar each so I bought them too.
Naturally with soup plates and soup vegs I had to make soup, so I transformed most of the above assortment plus leeks and silverbeet from the garden into a huge pot of soup. That's lunch sorted for the week.
I know it looks awful - that's the beetroot giving it that sinister colour - but it tasted GREAT.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not now, not ever

I am no admirer of politicians of any colour or stamp, in fact I despise them all. (Well, mostly. I quite like Jeanette Fitzsimons, but she's retired.) However I cheered when Julia Gillard was elected as Australia's first female PM a few years ago, not because of her politics but simply because she is female. Australian culture, and especially Australian politics, is deeply sexist and misogynistic. I cheered when she tore into that smirking sleazy Neanderthal throwback Tony Abbott, then Leader of the Opposition, now, unfortunately, Prime Minister:
"I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. And the government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.” - Julia Gillard, October 2012.
You can see and listen to the speech here on Youtube, if you're interested. Take note of Abbott - smirking and smug at the beginning, becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the speech goes on. True to form, the Australian media criticised her speech unmercifully, but overseas media was overwhelmingly positive and supportive and the video went viral.

All this is a preamble to what I found on Stuff.co.nz this morning - this wonderful musical version of her famous speech. Composer Rob Davidson has made a choral piece of her words. It is wonderful, wonderful!

Read more about "Julia Gillard's misogyny speech: the musical" here on The Vine.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Roast fillet of lard

Sad news to wake to this morning.  RIP Clarissa. Now at last you can have that reunion with Jennifer. Both gone far too early.
I adored the Two Fat Ladies, along with Keith Floyd they were TV cooks who really loved food and eating. What is the joy of life without a little excess?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Horrible food, delicious food

I came across this amazingly awful recipe for a so-called kitty-litter cake - doesn't it look disgusting? The recipe is here on a website called Fab Food, a misnomer if ever there was one. The list of ingredients includes a litter tray and scoop.  All I can think is...why? Just...why?
This is supposed to be edible, it's a CAKE! You'd never catch me eating it. 
On the other hand, when it comes to delicious food, our local supermarket is now stocking Mapua Smokehouse mackerel pate. This is a real treat, especially with a glass of sauvignon blanc.