Sunday, December 31, 2017


Yesterday (30th) was my 74th birthday - I really don't know where the time has gone. I had a wonderful day starting with the usual early visit to the market, walking Sophie at the Town Basin and supermarket shop before breakfast.  I then had a long chat to my step-daughter who called from Australia and friends from New Zealand.  At midday we met up with four others for a leisurely lunch (3 hours) at a newish restaurant.  Most enjoyable.  Back home and a short siesta and more phone calls then a snack of delicious toasted sandwiches made by Doug.  Finally another phone call, this time from a cousin in England. (and, of course, lots of lovely presents).

 I am lucky as, apart from a troublesome shoulder, my health is good.  It has been a wonderful year for us and I hope it continues into 2018 and beyond.

Wishing everyone a Happy and, most importantly, Healthy 2018.

Saturday, December 30, 2017


For some time I have been meaning to make Raspberry Chia Seed Jam with frozen raspberries but I never got around to it.

We bought two boxes of cherries for Chrismas and were then given another box so, yesterday, I decided to make Cherry Chia Seed Jam.  I cut the cherries in quarters removing the stones and then brought them to a boil (gently until the juices flowed)  I added a tablespoon of honey then added a tablespoon of chia seeds and turned the element off.

So easy and what I ended up with was delicious jam.  O.K. so it won't keep but it won't have a chance anyway and it is so easy to make I will now make regular small batches with blueberries, blackberries or raspberries from the freezer  (and possibly some more from cherries while they are still in season).

This morning I had some on toast with avocado and cottage cheese.  Delicious.

Mind you, I could easily eat it straight off the spoon and it would  be great with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


We had a lovely Christmas Day - seven around the table enjoying the meal.  From my lovely Stepdaughter in Australia we received a wonderful Food Parcel with various Gluten Free items which also  included a bottle of Raspberry Wine Vinegar and a bottle of White Truffle Infused Olive oil both from the Southern Highlands where she lives.  There is also a packet (still to be opened) for my birthday.

The lovely Christmas throw was from her parcel last year

I am told the cake was delicious but I had a separate gluten free one.

                                                            The goodies from Australia

                                                  Doug received a beautiful hand made eel.

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Earlier in the week the temperature was 31 degrees C. when taken in my porch and it was very humid.  Still humid but, thank goodness, the temperature has dropped and it is a very pleasant 24 degrees.

There will be seven of us around the table tomorrow (Christmas Day) and we decided to have a cold meal as I don't like the thought of having the oven going if it is a hot day.  The forecast is for 22 degrees which is fine by me.

A leg of lamb has been roasted, a mix of vegetables has also been roasted for a salad, trifles are in the fridge for the jelly to set before the custard goes on and this afternoon the turkey will be cooked.  That leaves the small ham to be glazed tomorrow morning when the new potatoes and homegrown beans will be cooked, a couple of salads made and the pavlova decorated.

It seems as though everything is under control.

The garden is coming on well.  We should have tomatoes in the next few days and, hopefully, potatoes next month.  Beans, courgettes and cucumber are already prolific.

and "No Feet" has been back for feeds.

and Kim has made herself at home

So all that is left is for me to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Another Day in Paradise

Up at 6 a.m. this morning and spent three hours in the garden - me weeding, Doug planting some Hollyhock seedlings.  Then breakfast, feed the animals and at 10.30 a.m. headed down to the Town Basin to listen to the Basin City Big Band.

After going  to the new Down the Road cafe for an excellent lunch we went home to get the trailer and on to Mitre 10 for some MDF to make the dining table larger for Christmas lunch.  Then back home for a well deserved siesta.

The Jacarandas are in full flower around the town

The gardens are always stunning

The band played on

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


This year is the first for me in this house and I have just put the decorations up.  The tree is in the verandah off the lounge for this year - next year it should be part of the lounge. 

We were able to give Doug's tree and a couple of sets of lights to the SPCA op shop so, hopefully, a family who couldn't afford a tree will be able to get one cheap.  

                                                                The shelf above the television

                       Hope it doesn't turn cold again as the woodburner has been put to another use

The tree outside in the verandah

                                             A few more decorations on the oak sideboard

A couple of wreaths at the front door

Not a Christmas decoration but Doug gave me this "Welcome" sign last Christmas

Monday, December 4, 2017


 In the late 1960's on, possibly my first trip back to the U.K. after coming to New Zealand I bought Sheila Hutchins Daily Express Cook Book.  One dish I used to make was her recipe for Daube Cevanole.  I hadn't made it for years until recently and on Saturday when I came upon a shoulder of lamb in the supermarket I made it again.

On Saturday I boned and cubed the lamb and put it in a bowl with chopped garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary and basil, half a bottle of red wine and some salt and pepper and left it in the fridge overnight.  After lunch yesterday I browned some chopped streaky bacon and chopped onions, then browned the drained meat and quartered mushrooms.  I put it all in a casserole with some orange peel, chopped carrots and the liquid from the meat.  Put the lamb bones on top covered it with foil and a lid then put it in a low oven for four hours and it was delicious served with new potatoes, sweetcorn and homegrown silver beet (chard).

No photos as it looks just like any casserole (anyway, I was too busy eating it)  There is plenty in the fridge and some will be frozen for instant meals.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas at the Town Basin

At 5 p.m. yesterday we went to the Town Basin.  There was the fortnightly Food Market on the Canopy Bridge and a Christmas Concert.  The entertainment was excellent among other things there was a team of very young girls doing acrobatics, a fashion show from a nearby store,  The Whangarei Brass Band and  a group performing Zumba.

We sat on a grassy mound (not big enough to be a hill) and Doug ate Mussel Fritters and chips while I had Paella and to follow Doug had a delicious looking doughnut and I had a locally made Raspberry Raw Cake.  In fact it was so delicious I had eaten it on the way back to where we were seated and ended up getting a second.  see here  - It was only a small slice (or 2 ) that I ate.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Another visit to the Sculptureum

This morning we headed south on State Highway 1 as far as Waipu and then turned off and went down the coast road to Mangawhai and over the hill to Matakana thus by-passing most of the State Highway with its road works and trucks.

It was a wonderful day (well it is the first day of summer tomorrow so, hopefully, that is a sign of things to come) and a lovely drive through lush valleys.

It was good to see the gardens in spring as it was autumn when we visited last time.

The meal was as delicious as last time and I had intended to take a photo but only remembered too late.

After lunch we went into the indoor gallery where there were some new installations.

                                              Head of a young woman by Paul Cezanne

                     This was made from a block of wood made from several olive trees.

                                                         These were made from plastic ties.