Saturday, February 26, 2011

simple rustic tomato sauce recipe


I'm not quite sure where to start today's post. So much has happened in the past week that I'm almost lost for words.
It seems almost selfish to be carrying on with life, writing about homemade tomato sauce when the people of Christchurch have had their lives turned upside down for the second time in only 5 months. But where the last earthquake only left destruction of buildings and homes, this time it has been fatal. My heart breaks as I read about the lives lost and the harrowing ordeal that others have endured. On the flip-side there have been some amazing and somewhat tear-jerking tales of survival. That leaves you wondering how? I watched with wet eyes last night as the news told of a young woman that was rescued after 6 hours of being trapped in the crumpled building where she worked. She had been communicating via text with her fiancĂ© while still trapped. Could you imagine that? They were due to get married yesterday and you know what? Against all odds, they still went ahead with the ceremony. My heart goes out to that couple, and all the other survivors, but most importantly my heart and thoughts go out to those families still searching for their loved ones. Kia kaha, be strong.


See what I mean? How does one go from such heavy, heart breaking news to talking about tomato sauce? Here goes.

Right now we are reaching the peak of our tomato season and if you, like us, have many tomatoes growing in your gardens, you may be searching for ways to use up the surplus. I usually make batches of tomato kasundi, which I then sell at our local markets, but with so little time available before we move to Perth this is what I've been cooking up instead.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a surprise wedding...

Photo taken by Peter Stonerough.

On Saturday we had our farewell BBQ at a beautiful bush park reserve here in Raglan and surprised our family and friends with a wedding!
We have been thinking about the idea for about 6 months now, but only seriously decided to go ahead with our plans two weeks ago. You know, with all the stress of moving countries, sick kids and injured feet, we figured why not just add to it and organise a wedding too?! Crazy right?!

Si and I have been together for just over 8 years, own a house and have two kids, so really we already felt like an old married couple. We thought however, that it would be nice to make it official. Especially as we are mere moments away from starting our new life over in Australia.
We're not into the whole palaver of the "traditional" wedding, opting instead for a simple, low-key celebration surrounded by those we love. The added surprise element was the perfect way to take the stress and pressure out of the day.
Thursday, February 17, 2011

my favourite gluten & dairy-free NZ goodies




With just a little over 2 weeks to go until we cross the ditch, I thought it was about time I shared a little about the gluten and dairy-free products available in New Zealand, that have helped me out so much over the past few years. There are a lot of "gluten-free" products out there these days and it's really hard to know firstly which ones taste nice, and don't resemble crumbly cardboard, and secondly which ones are worth spending your hard earned money on (because lets face it, most gluten-free foods are damn expensive!).  The same goes for "dairy-free" products, some don't taste nice at all, most are expensive and some, that you would've thought we're dairy-free (like most margarine's) actually contain milk products??! And well, if you happen to be both gluten and dairy-free like we once were, strictly, things just get a little confusing at times. Take most "soy ice creams" for example. Dairy-free, yes. But most contain gluten. Go figure. So here's a list of products that we couldn't do without in New Zealand, and ones that I hope I can still find most of in Perth. Before anyone asks, no I haven't been sponsored by these companies to promote their products (although that would be lovely), so rest assured, these are my genuine favourite gluten & dairy-free NZ goodies...
Saturday, February 12, 2011

grilled courgette with parsley, olives & garlic crumbs recipe


It has been an eventful few weeks for our family, and not all in a good way. Si badly hurt his foot kitesurfing 2 weeks ago, and has been off work ever since. The timing couldn't have been any worse, with us trying to pack up our lives for the big move to Perth, in just a little over 3 weeks! He was in so much pain for the first week and a half after the accident that he barely got off the couch, quickly becoming my "third child". Now that he's getting better and is able to walk around without crutches, Ada's come down with scarlet fever. Choice as. Kye was sick a few weeks back with a chest-cold, so I hope that with Ada's illness we cancel out the old "bad things come in threes" saying. Enough is enough I reckon, I need to pack!

But before you think this is all just going to be doom and gloom, check out this photo below... the Orca's (aka "killer whales") came into the Raglan harbour on Thursday morning, the third time in just over a month. They visited early Christmas morning. We were all eating breakfast when we got the call from my Dad (who lives right at the Raglan Wharf, so is always one of the first to know). We drove around trying to spot them, but somehow we missed them. I've heard they also came in around new years eve.

It was such a treat to take Ada down to the wharf (Kye was at childcare) to see them. My Dad and step-brother paddled out to see them on their paddle boards and got the best views of all! I swear, at times they were only metres away from those big black giants. I'm not convinced I would have had the balls to paddle out so close to them, but imagine it would have been such a magical experience if I had. Dad said they were all females, mothers and babies, feasting on stingray and playing around, the mothers showing their young how things are done.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

pineapple granita with chilli & salt recipe


Have you ever had a moment where you're in the doctor’s waiting room, flicking through a magazine and a recipe catches your eye? You rummage through your bag, frantically trying to find that pen you were sure you had in there, and that old envelope that's perfect in situations like these. You write at top speed, carefully copying out the main points in the recipe… only to be called up by the doctor when you are mere moments away from finishing. (Alanis Morissette's "Ironic", playing over in your head).



I have. Many times over. Actually everywhere I go, for as long as I remember I have always copied out recipes. I find them in; magazines, friend’s cookbooks, and even off the back of cereal packets, (which reminds me there was a really nice looking banana loaf recipe I’m still yet to try, copied off the back of a soy milk carton years ago).
Thursday, February 3, 2011

carrot, white bean and coriander salad recipe


So, as promised, here's a little bit of savoury goodness (amongst all the sweet!) to get you through the weekend. I came across this recipe in the New Zealand Vegetable cookbook. Some of the biggest names in NZ food writing; Lorraine Jacobs, Ginny Grant and Kathy Paterson, have teamed up to produce this gorgeous seasonal cookbook that is fast becoming my go-to vegetable cookbook.

Written along the same lines as the infamous River Cafe Cook Book Green (which gets a mention in the bibliography) it is divided into four seasonal sections, each one dedicated to produce available at that time of year. And being the New Zealand vegetable cookbook it obviously uses vegetables that are abundant and available to us at the right time of the year! Yay! This was the one downfall that I found when reading the River Cafe Cook Book Green, that not many of the vegetables were available down under!

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