June 30, 2012

Sunday Sunday, looks good to me

Today I turned 44. I'm thinking: What is it about birthdays that invite reflection? You look a little closer at the year that was and look at the year ahead, then you look at what separates these 2 episodes: it's the one day of the year when it's all yours to just appreciate the moment. My best friend and partner gifted me Jo Seagar and Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. Cooking is something I have really started to enjoy and appreciate. It is in cooking I understand the saying that "it's the journey that matters"...the joy of finding a recipe is similar to finding a holiday destination then planning all the steps toward getting there. The joy of putting it all together and knowing you are responsible in creating your destination or outcome is pretty cool. I can't wait to share some journeys with you.
What's New?
Well, we are thinking about putting another few veggie gardens in just beside the others, the idea is to get a year round supply of the freshest, organic produce.
The lavender is starting to flower, and they are smelling lovely, the silverbeet is doing fantastic, it has a continual supply of tasty leaves which enhances many a fine dish.

Roasting hot chicken news!!!!                                                                       
Jenny is NOT a girl! She is a Rooster....

We just thought she might be 'big for her age'.. (remember people would say that if their wee ones were bigger than the rest of the kids?). So! Dilemma time... Suggestions welcome from fellow chooky keepers... But, no to chop chop of neck before anyone suggests it!
Well, that's it folks, for another day. I'll be sure to share the recipes I try with you. Have a great week.

ps; To Laura, hope you enjoyed the show in Auckland.


veggie gardens

Some nice flowers growing along railway line

Finn and Murphy Time... 

Harry and Jenny Face off (gulp!!!!)
Lovely Lavendar

Silverbeet, so yum.

June 29, 2012

Happy Chickens

With mud everywhere we have been challenged with how to keep the chooks food dry and keep the birds from having a free feed! So, looking under the house I came across old plumbers pipes and hey presto! The 'chook choob' is born!

 So the chicks can self feed throughout the day and the pesky birds have real difficulty hovering at the feed spot, which means a good saving on feed loss.

The 5 new girls are doing really well, the only issue is Georgia & Mildred are going under the den at night and we are having to shoo them out with a broom and place them in the hen house. Hopefully they will cotton on that is safer and warmer in there.
We have added some more enrichment to their area, the branches and shelters keep them busy. The wee bantams are great layers and the eggs are so nice. According to all sources, the laying will slow down big time as the weather gets cooler and sunshine decreases. But, they are a happy wee bunch and we love them to bits.
Feeder ready to go

Cosy Den

June 17, 2012

Goat curry and Naan bread anyone?

Welcome to Monday,

I wanted to share the best curry recipe I have tried, tested and tasted. It gets full marks from us and the Naan bread was really easy too. So in reverse order, here is how it looked at the end.

Yogurt and coriander to top it off

The bread just after it came out of oven....

Authentic setting or what? 

We had such a good time eating it, the bread was so tasty, fresh and made with all ingredients we had in the cupboard. I swapped the goat for diced beef and it was really good. Have a go.


Goat/Beef curry


1kg goat shoulder (or other braising cut)

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cardamom pods , lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp unrefined light brown sugar
  • a few curry leaves (optional) 
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml chicken stock or water
  • a handful of coriander leaves, for garnishing


  • 4 garlic cloves , peeled
  • 4 small seeded chillies , roughly chopped
  • 3cm piece ginger , roughly chopped
  • generous pinch sea salt
  • 3 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 small onion , roughly chopped

  • Method
    1. To make the chili paste, put all the ingredients into a small food processor and whizz to a fine paste. Stop the machine and scrape down the bowl two or three times to ensure it's all evenly ground. Scrape the paste into a small bowl and set aside.
    2. For the curry, cut the goat shoulder into small, bite-size chunks and season with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a wide saucepan. Fry the meat in two batches until golden brown all over. After each batch, remove to a plate and set aside.
    3. Tip the chili paste into the pan and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the dried spices, sugar and curry leaves, if using. Continue to stir for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock to the pan and stir well. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook slowly for 3-4 hours until the meat is just tender.
    4. Remove the lid and skim off the excess oil. Gently simmer for another 20-30 minutes until the curry has reduced and thickened. The meat should be very tender. Season to taste and serve topped with coriander leaves.
    Ready in 4 hours 30 mins

    Naan Bread

    Ingredients For Naan Bread Recipe

      Yeast – 2 teaspoons, (or 1 sachet)
    •  Plain flour – 440 grams
    •  Sugar – 1 teaspoon
    •  Water – 50ml, Warm
    •  Olive oil or vegetable oil – a few drops
    •  Chopped herbs (optional)
    •  Salt – to taste
    Preparation Method For Naan Bread Recipe
    Step 1
    Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. The yeast needs to be activated first,use a sachet or 2 teaspoon of yeast and put it in a mixing bowl.
    Step 2
    Than add the sugar and about 50 ml of warm water and leave for 10 min. The yeast should bubble and the mixture should look cloudy and bubbly.
    Step 3
    Next the flour needs to be added to yeast mixture .Mix and add a pinch of salt, then a couple of drops of vegetable or olive oil. Than add an egg in the naan bread mixture topping up with warm water if it look like it is getting dry.
    Step 4
    When the naan bread mixture holds together, take out the bowl and knead it using a flat surface till feels springy. If it is too wet flour can be added when kneading.
    Step 5
    Wash the bowl and place the mixture back into bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place for roughly an hour, so the mixture can rise, ideally double in size.
    Step 6
    When the dough has raisin, take out of bowl and knead again for a couple of minutes. Divide the dough into equal pieces,using upper hand roll each piece into a ball with your hands and flatten with a rolling pin into a circular shape. The naan bread should be about 1 cm thick. Hold the naan bread up and it will give it the tear drop shape.
    Step 7
    Lay naan breads onto greased baking sheet and brush with water. Place them into the oven on the middle of highest shelf. After a couple of minutes ,turn them over as they will rise quickly. Cook them for approximately for 3 minutes on each side. It should be blown up in pieces but not completely,so keep an eye on them.
    Serving Suggestion

    Serve immediately with the curry.


    See ya through the week!

    June 16, 2012

    The new arrivals wake up to a Frosty Mornings

    Welcome to Sunday morning.

    We were greeted by this beautiful sight this morning. 
    Last night was really really cold, the coldest night yet by far, the dark clear sky glistened with the most beautiful stars, however such a clear night usually means one thing, Jack frost is on his way....but it's almost forgivable when you see the beauty that is produced. When we lived in Auckland, we never saw any frost, so this was such a welcome sight. 


    Finn enjoyed running the through the long grass, nose first!
                                                      Frosty grass                                            

    Water dish ice

    Capturing the cold morning

    Let me introduce you to the new arrivals

    Our friend Lou dropped the girls off yesterday and after some discussion we decided to introduce them straight away to the residents. It went surprisingly well , no big screaming matches or tantrums...however Harry did display some interesting moves...he danced a little, chased a little then pretty much left them alone.

    What's in a name?

    The girls did come with names, however we decided to change them, so here you go.                                                            
                                                                          Pauly & Lainey
    We are big Soprano fans and the wee black one at the front is a confident little thing, who literary went looking for trouble straight away, and yes! she found it! Harry chased her for ages, never catching her..so we called her Pauly after Tony Soprano's right hand man who is definitely more than meets the eye... I know she's a girl and he's boy..but Pauly suits her really well. Then the beautiful black bantam chick, she laid an egg already, she is quiet and a little less confident than the others, but she sure has the talent.. so we called her Lainey after my wee sister.

    The pair of shavers stick together and last night neither would come into the chook house to sleep and we thought, what a loyal pair, sticking together no matter what...so we thought what about George & Mildred like the TV sitcom, they were forever together...so easy peezy George became Georgia..



    Last, but certainly not least,
    please meet  Khalessi

    For anyone who has not seen or heard of "Game of Thrones" Game of Thrones, it's a highly addictive series of the most magical characters, mixed with spectacular scenery and one of the best story lines that I've come across in many years. It does come with a warning though, once you watch it you won't want to miss an episode ever..the books are awesome too. So one of the characters in Khaleesi or the Dragon queen... this little chook displays all the grandeur of a queen and her colours are like fire...she is our Dragon queen.

    Our BFF Justine took this photo from her lounge window across the fields of her property just outside Christchurch. It shows us what cold really is and just how beautiful it can be. Who couldn't love this...?

    Well friends, I do hope you had a splendid weekend and if Jack frost was around your way this morning, here's hoping you enjoyed his company as much as we did....

    Thought for the day:

    "The only way to know if you can trust someone, is to   trust them."   

    June 02, 2012

    Water load of fun this Queens weekend...

    What a long weekend should be.

    I am so happy the forecaster got it wrong this time, we haven't seen a bit of rain over the last 3 days. I took Friday off to avoid the manic traffic of everyone and their dog heading north for the Queens birthday weekend. It's nut, it's chaotic and it's predictable, yet everyone still does it..the northern motorway gets packed and it's always a very slow run all the way through, but not for me. 
    We had scheduled Friday as the day we go and see the latest movie at Matakana cinema, however that was only happening because the weather was supposed to be dodgy.. well if beautiful sunshine is the 'new' dodgy, I'll take it any day. 

    We decided we would dig out along the front of the deck to plant some lavender and nice smelling flowers.. . we used our magic formula to set the lavender in, yes you've guessed, Duck compost from our lovely neighbours across the way.The flowers will start to show in a few weeks.



    Saturday Markets and Regional Park:

    Up and away by 08.30, our plan was to get to Matakana markets before the mayhem of the Auckland city dwellers descend upon the village..., it was mad, they should call it 'Madacana Markets', people everywhere, but maybe that was the locals getting in before the others arrived?.
    We done well, we bought our usual coffee and stood beside Dean Barker of Team NZ sailing as we waited patiently for the barrista to call (howl, shriek) our names when our coffee was up. My god, watch out if your not there when she calls your name, it's like the dreaded alarm clock that just gets louder and louder until you switch it off...poor Justin quickly swooped in and swiped his coffee after 3 calls..everyone knew Justin after that!
    We always like to make a few purchases so we got some smoked onions, fresh bread, homemade chutney and a tasty food sample to keep us going.
    After our Market fix, we decided to head up to Tawharanui regional park http://tawharanui%20regional%20park/ to check out what our local area had to offer. What a place, it's heaven on earth..the Ocean was stunning, wildlife galore, scenery to match and an all round great place to visit. It's pest proof fenced around the entire perimeter and had massive signs saying NO DOGS, because there are Kiwi and many native birds breeding in the parkland's. We spent a while watching the surfers enjoy the modest waves, but really just enjoyed being there. There was tree planting going on which was a hive of activity with all the volunteers busy digging away like little beavers.
    We decided we would return to the park on Sunday and test out our paddle boards. We haven't paddled since we moved up here in Feb.
    Sunday morning came and we chose to head to Snells beach first and check out the water before going up to the park...bad idea, the tide was way out, so we checked into the next bay and the next and the next....are you catching onto the story yet? after 1 hour of failed attempts, we thought, hey lets try our our initial intention and 'go to the park' ..well lo and behold, guess what? picture perfect ... we quickly checked out the water, grabbed our boards off the Ute and spend the next 2 hours enjoying being at one with the Ocean...

    We didn't take any pics on the water, we couldn't trust ourselves with the camera as it's not a waterproof unit and we hadn't been on the boards for a few months... but here is why we just love Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding.
    It's quite amazing when you are up above the water and looking down, you see so much marine life and get such great, up close experiences of your surroundings...

    Brooke at Laingholm Bay

    Laingholm in the Summer 

     Small bay around from Laingholm

    After being on the water, you get real hungry and Brooke suggested we head to James and Morris pottery centre james and morris at Matakana for lunch. If your driving past this place I recommend you stop to shop and lunch, the food was awesome and they had their annual sale on which also allowed for a small purchase without breaking the bank...

    Came home all refreshed and SKYPED out beautiful niece and sister in Hong Kong. Bliss.
    All in all a terrific break with beautiful weather to accompany it.

    ps: don't tell anyone, but we're getting 5 more chickens...shhhhh!

    Thought for the day:
    " Before you make a judgement of another, try seeing the world through their eyes first"