April 16, 2012

Made it to the Market & Planted more trees

Welcome to the second week of Easter holidays and what wonderful weather we are having.
There is even the odd sprinkle of rain to refresh the veg gardens and grass, not too much though!

So what has the week held for us? work took up the bulk of the time, but I can tell you the Easter holiday programme is going off. It's a puzzle trail based around the Dr Seuss novel 'The Lorax"  http://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/whats-happening/upcoming-events/april-school-holidays.aspx . Kids are loving learning about the importance of conservation as well as leaving with some cool seeds to plant their own trees and were even giving away 2 for 1 movie vouchers. So far there's been around 40, 000 visitors in the first 10 days. records are going to be broken for visitation numbers. Go the Zoo.

AT HOME                                                                                    

along the fence line
Being at home continues to be our sanctuary, our haven to unwind whilst continually creating and developing our wee property. We bought more trees, and you know what goes with buying them, you gotta plant them... so we did....

Brooke up close and planting

we also popped a couple of gates on the veg garden

We even made it the Matakana Markets. They were very busy, probably too busy for people who want to browse at their own pace rather then feeling like your on a conveyor belt and gotta keep moving. The majority of stalls offer tasting and we had a wee mousy meal on a few things like almost croissants to olive oil ...yummy yum. So here's a few wee pics, if you haven't been there and you live around Auckland, then go at least once. there's a car boot style stall holders area just before the main Market where you will pick up a bargain, haggling is expected. I got myself a cracking Tea Pot (Bone China I'll have you know!) for $5.

That's the week that was folks and here's to the great weather continuing and to Loving the Lifestyle.

Thought for the week; "Live the life you love and love the life you live"

April 08, 2012

Easter Weekend - Stay at home

Easter weekend:

The official verdict on our first Easter in Warkworth! Weather Wonderful - Traffic Terrible.

Firstly, make sure you don't have to go anywhere near the Village or god forbid, anywhere north.. I made an attempt on Saturday to get to Matakana Markets and was stuck fast in the Dome Valley for 1/2 an hour and travelled about 3km, I found a driveway to do a U turn and headed home. The queue of traffic was a nightmare, why do people do it? It can't be a new experience, and yet people still do it.
What is it they say about insanity; "Its doing the same thing every time and expecting a different result"


I decided to go into the Village and thankfully the wee Warkworth Market was on, so I rummaged around and made some cool purchases; some home made Grannies' pickle, what is it about Grannie's cooking we all love and miss anyway? I remember going to Granny and Grandads every Sunday for our dinner, what smells, what tastes, I can actually recreated those yummy smells in my mind.
I also bought a butter dish (it was on my list and I actually found one) and a big clip storage jar for flour because we have mice, Finn hears them and tries in vain to squeeze behind the fridge to catch them. The trap does a good job, although I still struggle with killing things.

Remember those cinnamon swirls I was telling you about? well they were yummy yummy yummy... so yummy in fact I'm sharing the recipe and pics with you:


  1. 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 2 cups milk
  3. 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  4. 6 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  5. 1 3/4 cups sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  8. 1/4 cup water
  1. In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick of the butter in 1 cup of the milk over moderate heat. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1 cup of milk. Pour this mixture into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the yeast and beat until dissolved. Add the 6 1/4 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the salt and beat at medium speed until a dough forms.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 1 minute. Lightly oil a large bowl, add the dough and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until the dough has almost doubled in bulk, 40 minutes.
  3. Line the bottoms of two 10-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter the paper. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll 1 piece into a 12-by-6-inch rectangle
    about 1/3 inch thick, with a long edge facing you. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the cinnamon. Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter on the dough and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch border at one long edge. Roll up the dough jelly roll-style and pinch to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and cinnamon sugar.
  4. Cut each roll into 8 slices. Arrange the slices in the cake pans, cut side up and about 1/2 inch apart. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until the rolls rise slightly, about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the rolls for 30 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the water. Simmer over moderately high heat until the sugar dissolves, 2 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and generously brush the tops with the hot sugar syrup. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes and serve warm.

April 05, 2012

Meet Harry

There's something about Harry,

Well would you believe it.. last week we were put in touch with a lovely lady called Debbie who had a white Sussex rooster she sadly needed to re home. After learning he had originally came from a breeder just up the road from us near Matakana, we decided it was time to have a 'man about the house!' So..along came Harry. he wasn't called Harry when we got him, his name was Fudge, quite cool but when we saw him, we just saw Handsome Harry.

Handsome Harry

Having a Rooster around is very obvious, the pecking order was quickly established, Harry immediately took on the role and pack leader, he established himself amongst the girls by challenging Frannie and Annie for first in the hen house at night time, deciding who eats first and who he would like to "attempt to mate with'.. the poor wee Sussex were quickly demoted to bottom of the pack, although they are getting so big, they aren't actually too intimidated by the big Man. He has a good set O' lungs on him too, 5.50am he's cackling away waking everyone up..who needs an alarm clock?
We are loving having him around, it's really interesting just watching the group dynamics. Hurray for Harry.

Recipe Time 

Cider and honey roast leg of lamb

(Gordon Ramsay recipe)

  • 1 leg of lamb, about 2kg, fat trimmed and skin scored 
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 3–4 garlic cloves, skins on and halved
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • juice from 1⁄2 lemon
  • 4 apples, russets or braeburns
  • 500ml medium cider (or sparkling apple juice)
  • runny honey, to drizzle
  • 300ml lamb or chicken stock

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.
  2. Weigh the lamb and calculate the final cooking time at 10 minutes per 450g for medium rare, 15 minutes per 450g for medium.
  3. Score the fat around the leg of lamb in a crisscross pattern, drizzle with a little olive oil then rub all over with salt and pepper.

  4. Place in a deep roasting pan and scatter the garlic and thyme over and around.
  5. Pour over the lemon juice and drizzle again with olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle with a little more seasoning then roast in the hot oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Slice the apples into quarters and cut off the cores.
  8. Remove the lamb from the oven and reduce the heat to 180°C/Gas 4.
  9. Scatter the apple around the pan and baste the lamb with the cider.
  10. Turn the lamb over and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of honey.
  11. Return to the oven for 30 minutes.
  12. Turn the lamb round, baste the meat with the pan juices then drizzle over another tablespoon of honey.
  13. Now roast for the calculated time. To check, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the lamb then press the meat lightly: the redder the juices, the rarer the meat.
  14. Lift the lamb to a carving board and cover with a piece of foil. Rest in a warm place while you prepare the gravy.
  15. At this point, the apples and garlic in the roasting pan should be very soft. Press with a fork, then tip the entire contents of the pan into a fine sieve over a saucepan. Push down with the back of a ladle to extract all the juices and flavour from the apples and garlic. Discard the pulp.
  16. Place the saucepan over medium heat and add the stock.
  17. Bring to the boil and let it bubble vigorously until the sauce has thickened to a desired gravy consistency.
  18. Taste and adjust the seasoning then pour into a warm serving jug.
  19. Carve the lamb into thin slices and serve drizzled with the apple cider gravy.
Finished product

Easter Break.

We are now off for 4 days over Easter..yay!!. Just baked some Cinnamon swirls and they are ready to be washed down with a nice cuppa coffee.

Good Friday indeed.

I'd like you to meet Miss Ivy Knight - Our Niece.

This little gem of a girl is such a treasure. Brooke's sisiter Caroline and hubby Phil, stayed with us at our last place for 8 whole weeks before heading to Honk Kong for Phil's teaching post. That was when Miss Knight came into the world. We had the pleasure and privilege of sharing such a magical time with them, one we will cherish forever. Ivy will be 1 real soon. They are coming home in December for a visit

Thought for the day:

"To Thine own self be true".       William Shakespeare.