“...your kitchen looks like a bear came in search of honey.”
- Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
Right now I am buried deep in boxes after the truck came and dropped off all my stuff from Auckland. SO exciting! I am impatiently waiting for M to find something to prop the front of my bookcase up on (the floor is uneven) so I can unpack all my books. Impatient might be an understatement...
Anyway, a couple of weekends ago we invited M’s parents and sister round for dinner which was an awesome excuse to get my hands dirty doing some fun cooking. I really wanted to make bread from scratch which is something I haven’t really done before (apart from making pita bread once which is pretty fun). I had a recipe from my old flatmate which I was keen to try out so on Saturday afternoon I found myself elbow deep in flour! But it was all worth it because the bread came out divine.
I also really wanted to make corn chowder so I had a array of different ingredients I thought might possibly go in it but no real idea of what I was going to do. This seems to be a common theme of my cooking! I had browsed various recipes but nothing was quite what I wanted so I just made it up as I went along. There is onion, pumpkin, potato, celery, corn, coconut cream, veggie stock, sundried tomatoes, various spices among various other ingredients I can’t remember now. It all seemed too chunky for my liking once it was done though so I bizzed it up a tiny bit with the stick blender so there were still plenty of lumps but nothing too ginormous.
It ended up turning out delicious and served with the bread I was quite impressed with myself! We ended up eating way too much and getting super full...always a sign of a successful meal. But of course you have to have dessert. I had a whole lot of rhubarb in our freezer which M’s Mum had given us so I stewed that up with some apples and raisins and made a delicious crumble. So all in all it was the perfect winter feast.
Since then it’s got steadily colder. In fact they reckon there might be snow down to sea level tomorrow...I hope they are wrong! But now I have all my books so I guess it could be worse!
Even in the world of today we can see how mighty powers can come apart at the seams when confronted with simple demands for peace, love, food for the poor, and amnesty for the enemies of the state.
- Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
I know, I know. Blah blah blah...
Anyway, before I race off to bed (before racing off before dawn tomorrow for the national orienteering champs in Hawkes Bay...scary!!) I thought I'd just quickly tell you something. Kris's new vegan cake book is out and it's called have your cake and vegan too. It arrived in the mail at my parents the other day which was super exciting!! I was a tester for it so I can tell you that it is awesome. Actually, her cake recipes are pretty much the only ones I ever use.
I whipped up one I hadn't tried for my cousin's birthday last weekend, Bubbie's Chubby Tuxedo Cake. It seemed fitting after how much she adored last year's cake (the oreos got her very excited).
As usual for Kris's recipes it was simple, reliable and worked out perfectly (well, it took a bit longer to cook in our ancient oven and my baking always seems to turn out a bit more moist...not that anyone would complain about that).
It went down a treat and my flatmates gave the leftovers I brought home 5 stars (5 michelin stars actually!). Awesome :)
Anyway, I promise to post more once life settles down and I also promise to post about my exciting (terrifying) news soon!! Oh, and if you were wondering about the title watch this.
The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
So, last weekend (just to clarify, not the one that's just been but the one before that!) I decided to treat Mum to a special afternoon tea at the Heritage Hotel...any excuse to try their vegan high tea!! It was a pretty miserable day which meant our plans for a walk were dashed so we took the bus into town early and spent way too much money on shopping...although Mother and daughter shopping these days is more to the likes of Macpac (I know some of the ladies on the homepage - just a little shout out to the Macpac Girls On Top!!) and Bivouac!
Anyway, after all that shopping it was time for food especially since I hadn't eaten lunch (I had a late breakfast in preparation!). I had called ahead so when we arrived it only took them a few minutes before we had this placed in front of us...
First up you've got to have sandwiches.
We've got wholemeal sandwichs with avocado, hummus and cucumber and white bread sandwiches with tomato, basil and vegan cashew cheese
Next up, we all need some sweet treats in our life.
We've got brownie bites, fruit tartlets, vanilla macaroons and chocolate dipper apricots.
But for the main event, and probably the thing I was most looking forward to, scones.
Cranberry, orange and ginger scones to be more precise, served with strawberry jam and soy cream!
Oh, and there was tea...because what is High Tea without, well, tea?!! It came in a teapot. No photos. Use your imagination.
Basically I think the photos pretty much speak for themselves. Mum loved it and I thought it was totally awesome although I did leave on a bit of a sugar high. My favourite was definitely the scones with cream and jam. Definitely a combination worth repeating. And it has inspired me to go out and buy some more soy cream and do "stuff" with it...what kind of stuff I don't know yet but I'm sure I'll come up with something!
Christopher Robin was sitting outside his door, putting on his Big Boots. As soon as he saw the Big Boots, Pooh knew that an Adventure was going to happen, and he brushed the honey off his nose with the back of his paw, and spruced himself up as well as he could, so as to look Ready for Anything.
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
So...I'm getting quite bad at this blogging thing and right now things are feeling more than a little stressful which is all rather understandable but doesn't change the fact that I have a whole lot of friends trying to live in a city that pretty much resembles a war zone. But I did have a beautiful weekend. M managed to fly up from Christchurch on Friday night (he requested that I bring water and food to the airport - just a hint at how desperate things are down there) and was quite excited about having a shower since his place was still without water. After M showered and we had dinner we escaped up to my beach house for the weekend.
Somehow Auckland managed to turn on a beautiful fine weekend with no rain whatsoever which is a bit of a miracle! After lazying about and sleeping in (felt like the first time in ages) and going for a paddle on our archaic (but totally awesome) polystyrene surfboards and swimming I made us lunch...hummus, tomato and mushroom toasted sandwiches with a red cabbage coleslaw (recipe to come).
After lunch we did a bit more lazing about because we could and then wandered up the hill for some fresh air. The view from the top is always incredible (not that the view from out our front door isn't though!).
Then I made us an awesome green curry packed full of veggies, chickpeas and butter beans (my new favourite bean) on brown rice. We both went back for seconds.
I actually had some bananas I hadn't got around to eating or freezing (this is quite rare since I normally pretty much buy bananas, deliberately leave them on the bench for a couple of days and then freeze to make smoothies) so I decided I was going to make us banana bread. The one from Veganmicon to be specific. I think I've got it down pat now and it's my favourite. It even toasts quite well a couple of days later too.
We had a slice each for dessert straight from the oven and then pretty much devoured the rest the following day. SO good! Of course, we needed delicious banana bread to fuel us for a run in the hot sun over in Tawharanui...
Apparently I am in this photo as a tiny wee pink dot halfway up the hill but I am too small to really make out
And then all too quickly it was time to go home again and for M to head back to Christchurch. It felt even harder than normal to see him go...
His eyes were filling with some great emotion, as a pitcher fills with water when it is dipped in a spring.
- The Waste Lands by Stephen King
Things have been busy and now things are just plain overwhelming and scary. It all seems so surreal. Everyone I know in Christchurch is okay but that doesn't really make it that much better. I can't help worrying about M and all my friends. I just want them here and safe. Makes being at work seem completely irrelevant.
But you've got to try and keep your spirits up so here is the cake I made for a combined birthday party we had in Christchurch a few weeks ago for M and our friends.
This is before the cake made it to the party hence the awesome kitchen bench background
We ran around outside doing a crazy orienteering course, we ate lots of delicious food and even more delicious cake and we danced to awesome 80s music until I was too tired to stand up any more. Beautiful memories.
How many men had their marriage vows witnessed by fire-breathing dragons and man-eating cats?
- Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop
Oh dear! I'm getting very slack at this blogging thing of late but life has just been so super busy. I flew to Christchurch on Boxing Day then we went kayaking which you can read about here and here.
When we got back I hung around in Christchurch for another 3 weeks. In amongst working (I can do some work remotely) and surviving aftershocks (there was a 5.1 one morning which was a rather interesting way to wake up) we had some more adventures as usual! Then it was back to Auckland...well, for about 5 or 6 days anyway until I flew back down for the weekend! Now I am finally back in Auckland again and attempting to settle back into routine but it is proving a bit difficult!
So in my last post you got to see some of what we ate kayaking. Here are some other holiday meals (you can probably see a theme to our camping meals by now!!). At a holiday park in Hamner Springs we cooked up an indian curry mix from a packet with a tin of coconut cream and as many vegetables and beans as we could cram in. Simple and delicious.
Another weekend we went exploring around Craigieburn and camped somewhere near Mt White Station with some friends. Dinner consisted of veges, beans and pasta sauce on, well, pasta. So good after a long day out adventuring.
Here's the view from our campsite that night. I love the brooding sky.
When we weren't out exploring we still ate pretty well. I got very slack in the picture taking though...
We also had M's parents round for dinner one night and cooked up a storm. I didn't take pictures on the night (feeling a little bit self concious!) but here are some photos of the leftovers...M made a massive vegan lasagna which was pretty incredible. I think he made it with a whole lot of veges (mushrooms, courgette, pumpkin and possibly a whole lot of other things!), beans and tinned tomato.
For dessert I made a crumble with rhubarb from M's Mum's garden, apple and sultanas. It was SO good that it was difficult not to dive in for seconds and thirds but I was way too full.
Another night we went round to their house and M's Mum cooked up a really wicked vegan feast of salad, pizza and black currant crumble. I couldn't believe the effort she went to for us, even finding vegan cheese and I wish I'd taken photos but rest assured everything was super delicious.