Saturday, December 29, 2012

Explanation #1 of where I've been in 2012...

This is what I concentrated on for most of 2012 - and why I've been awol for some time.  Its good to be at the end of a year that can be summarised in one word: grind.

This is where I was for most of August - October (and planning for throughout the year).

NZ IceFest

It was fun - but busy.

More explanations to come...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Christchurch Chinese

OK. So I was introduced to 'proper' Chinese eating the other night with a friend and his gorgeous Chinese wife.  She ordered conservatively for us at Daphnes (apparently the best for dinner).   We picked from each dish communally with chop sticks, I handled the 'hot dish' and it was sloshed down with copious amounts of green tea.  The whole deep fried Akaroa Cod was fresh and amazing.  Just thought I'd document it as I have never eaten Chinese with hosts who 'know what they are doing'.  Shame when there seem to be so many good Chinese restaurants in Christchurch's suburbs. Apparently North and South is best for Yum Cha, Daphnes for dinner.  Get amongst.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pig Raising - The Introduction

I am part of a piglet consortium. Four families, four pigs. No names.  We have purpose....
...which does stop me looking into their eyes for too long!
 They have the cutest little house, play pen and 'estate grounds'..
..set amongst a very picturesque Waipara Valley vineyard.

Come Christmas, I'll update you on the next step....on 'the road to prusciuotto'. Until then - grow little weaners!

Sound and Light

We attended Lawrence Arabia's launch concert for his new album the other night. It was held at St Michael's Church, one of the very few heritage buildings left in the city.  Although the venue smacked a little of school, the sound and light was spectacular and unforgettable. So was being in a wooden venue - generous with its acoustics and so safe - creaking only with the full house of hipsters sitting and standing.  James Milne and is band were hugely generous - a very assuring night out!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Honky Tonk

There is a place in Christchurch called NG that sits alone on the double lane one way 'Madras'. It didn't used to be a standalone buiding.  It has kept us slightly sane here in Otautahi -  thankfully offering a temporary space for the Christchurch Art Gallery (as well as a permanent space for The National and NG Boutique).  And right here, right now, it is home to Michael Parakowhai's phenomenal post Venice Biennale show: On First Looking at Chapman's Homer.
I poppped up there this evening at 10 to 5.... to see some extra special light shining through his beautifully carved Steinway... 
 its keys all lined up....
extreme detail of his story telling.....
guts and all...

bronze cast olive trees...

..and - oh look. Thats me on the piano (my - what posture)!
The window through to the Red Zone, and my favourite part of his work of art...
...the bulls. I could look at those bulls forever, and will do for the next month.

This, in its first showing in NZ, has brought lightness, beauty and warmth to the city.  And the city seems 'crazy perfect' as its gallery - so right in our topsy turvy state!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hide the Sausage...

Winter eating has begun!  A perfect Toad in the Hole graced our table last week - with leeks and plum sauce.
Not the best looking dish in the world, but perhaps the most hilarious? 

Worth a go - the English have been eating this for a couple of centuries for good reason.

Changing Taylor's Mistake

Last weekend we headed to 'Taylors' - at the end of the road just out of Sumner, 30 minutes from Christchurch, and at the start of Banks Peninsula.  Traffic out that way has been severely depleted since the earthquakes...this was our first walk out here since 22 February (don't know why, just hadn't thought of going). It is one of my favourite places in the world, and even more special now that it has changed - physically and through a different make up of visitors.

The most fascinating thing was that the track that weaves itself over some magnificent cliffs was 'closed' and deemed unsafe to walk.  This surprised us, however once we had lifted Digby over the gate, and stepped over ourselves, we found ourselves as part of some sort of 'club': those who don't read signs, are happy to take some risk with their lives, and like to break a few rules.  Along the trail we met heaps of mellow yellow runners, walkers and bikers. It's like the trail had developed a new set of rules and a new community. 

Evidence of why the track is closed!

On the way back we saw more reasons why the authorities had closed the track.
But who wants to miss out on this!

Local residents told us that the beach has turned 'golden' since the earthquakes. See the line, up by the surf club where the sand looks almost black? That was the colour of the Taylor's Mistake beach pre 22 February, but the regular 'plunging of cliff' over the past 18 months has distributed a clay like sand (see those boulder shots above) to change the make-up of the beach.   

Winter Bling

Now that it is well dark by the time I turn the corner for home each night, I am greeted by this illuminated 'thing' (way more bling and pulsing in real life!).  The joys of dark nights, being able to see more bling than ever...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hello Aoraki

A return trip from Wanaka at Easter had Aoraki (Mt Cook) clearly in my sights.  The plane window always adds a further haze - but it really was quite authoratative on the sky line, and easily seen for quite a while heading up the South Island to Christchurch after an intensely sunny weekend.
Its on the right of the image in the distance. I was as fascinated capturing the old school propellor.

The center peak in this image...
Its always good to get a good view of Mt Cook - a nice anchoring constant!

Les Cevelles D'Agneau

This week, for the first time ever, I was treated by a friend to Lambs Brains: lightly poached, and topped with a salsa verte (chocca with anchovies) on toast.   A Fergus Henderson recipe, and a great way to start a potential following of offal!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Malaysia - Part Two. Island Time, Langkawi...

So - this is where we stayed on Langkawi.  This place was bigger than our house! It is a 100 year old colonial home .  We got upgraded! Yipppppeee!  A bathroom each, a beautiful bedroom with mosquito net, I was Catherine de Neuve in Indochine (but I was at Temple Tree).
Every morning we would receive a beautiful breakfast with a surprise fruit and home baked cake - never two the same over 7 nights.
Malaysia has the softest green plalate going on...
This is Jay Jay - Temple Tree's Dog and, shared with neighbouring Bon Ton resort, Temple Tree's owner also has LASSie - a dog and cat shelter and clinic on the island - so you need to be down with the felines and canines to stay here! We took a couple of muts for a walk one day. They were totally cool dogs.  

Pool House
View down to the second pool - which sits alongside kitchen and bar
This is how I spent much of my time on the island behind Alistair on a motorbike!!!
...spotting things like this - real cashews (see it formed under the pear like fruit)?
Staple drink - lemon ice tea with ice and sugar syrup.
Classic eaterie, once you got out of the main tourist area.. All you can eat buffet costs $4 each.
Every meat bar pork that you could imagine - BBQd and spiced up with curry or sambal... I was surprised at how much tamarind and tumeric they use here.  
And as well as the freshest food ever and the most varied, the MAGIE noodle packs are never far, or the nestle ice coffee for that matter (which I have to say I did enjoy with the condensed milk 10 years on since I first tried it).  Its just so good!
Few chicken wings are going to get it!  Satay is also popular, but we didn't see it heaps in non tourist parts.
Back at Temple Tree - tea leaf choices at any time.
And down the road - roti - need I say more? I was a repeat customer here.
Good times on Langkawi.
(That's a lilly pond at Bon Ton's Stilt Bar).