A Village Life

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Kiwi style

Halloween isn't very popular here in NZ yet but it is creeping its way into the culture.  This afternoon there is a Halloween party at the Lab where Pete works, put on by a fellow American of course.  Pete and the girls dressed up makeshift style.  There aren't many costume shops around or Halloween costumes in the shops at all but Kiwi's are traditionally more improvisational; you know the whole Kiwi ingenuity thing. 
Voila.....the nappy monster and his 2 fairies! (Pete came up with the nappy thing on his own and if you can't tell from the photos, he has one on his head, one on each elbow and knee and then the big one safety pinned on like a loin cloth?!)
And off they went to the party while mama has a rest before going back to work.  Bum deal.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And finally a day to relax

Monday was Labour Day here in New Zealand.  All this means to me is that nobody has to work; I am not sure of the true significance of this day or what exactly it represents.  Wanting some sort of family day where we do something that we wouldn't normally do, I asked Pete for suggestions of what we could do the four of us.  His main priority of course was fishing which he did early that morning with Rob.  Pete came up with the idea to visit a local sculpture trail and vineyard that we hadn't been to before.  Great idea!  I made a reservation and organized with Emma to meet there once the boys returned from fishing.  One barracuda and one john dory later we were on our way.  It was absolutely delightful.  The sun was shining, the kids enjoyed the walk and playing together and the adults nibbled on vineyard platters washed down by a bottle of pinot gris.  It wouldn't have been complete without a stop at Charlie's Gelato Garden on the way home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gala Mania

So the big preschool Gala is finally over, phew!  It was a wonderful day, the sun was shining all weekend long and we had lots of people come out to take part in the action.  I was inside all day working the hamper raffles but I ditched out for a pee break and ran around with my camera to snap some of the events.  Pete was flat out on the sausage sizzle all day.  They served up fish burgers, lamb burgers, sausages, falafel, ceviche and mussel fritters.  Hungry people out here in Leigh.  Nana and Pa stepped in to look after the girls while we tended to our stalls; thank goodness for grandparents.  Here's a few photos of the day, not great photography but I only had about 5 minutes to check it all out.

The final takings count, completed and banked today, was around the $10 grand mark!  Big money for a small preschool.  All proceeds will go toward upgrading the Leigh Preschool playground with new soft fall matting and sun shades.
The quick fire raffles were the big money makers

all the booty laid out to entice the punters
bouncy castle, aka: hero of the day for all the children

the slides or the big bouncy castle as Rita called it

face painting and coloring competition

the food man
tigress who kept wandering off from Pa!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Big One

Friday night I went out to the cinema to see Eat Pray Love a new movie (in NZ) starring Julia Roberts.  Girls night out.  It was a long movie, good, but long.  I didn't get home till 11:30pm!  That is a seriously late night for me these days.  Pete had arranged with Rob to go fishing the next morning very early but they were warned by both wives, Emma and myself, to be back by 10am.  I had a long day ahead of me running preschool gala errands in the morning and then working at the restaurant for lunch and dinner service and wanted a nap before going in.  Well, Genevieve woke up at 5:30am when Pete was getting ready to go so he plopped her down on me in bed and headed out.  Time to wake up after only about 5 hours of sleep.  Definitely not enough sleep for a sad old pregnant lady like me.  The girls and I went off early to the market chasing up Gala donations and around 9:15 I received a message from Pete saying he would be home in half an hour.  Perfect I thought.  Well, we got home and no husband in sight. Baby down for a nap, Rita in front of the television and mom on the couch trying to rest.  Still no Pete.  Finally I heard the ute pull up and out got Pete yelling for Rita to come out and have a look.  I couldn't be bothered getting up to see what he was going on about.  As he came up the back steps I yelled out that he better have a good reason for being late.  Glancing over I saw the proudest man ever holding up this huge snapper with a grin as if 'is this a good enough excuse?'.  Well hell no, it wasn't, not for me.  I am a vegetarian anyway so I could care less what he caught, I wouldn't be eating it.  I was tired and about to head to a restaurant to slave away for 9 hours standing up with my little pot belly getting in the way!

So after a very long dry spell with no fish being caught, Pete lands a whopper.  19.5 pounds

As a side note: my lack of sleep seriously affected me at work that night.  Cam, the head chef, would read out a new order and by the time he got to the end, I couldn't recall a single thing he had said.  I was an absolute wreck and by 8:30pm he told me to go home!  Next weekend being labour weekend we are going to get slammed so I better get my act together so I can last through dinner service!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Name Game

A bottle of delicious local Matakana Coast wine to whomever can come up with the winning name for baby number 3!!!!
We have a few boys names in our pocket still but our girls name list is definitely depleted this time around.  We are looking for suggestions, boy or girl, (we will not find out the sex of our baby till birth day) to help us out this time around in finding that perfect name.  Not too trendy, not too common, not too unusual.  It must sound good with a last name as boring as Browne and shouldn't clash too much with big sisters' names, Rita and Gigi.
Have you heard of any good ones or perhaps there was a name you loved that you didn't end up using for your own children's names?
Any and all suggestions welcome.....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Stroll

 Daniel's Reef at low tide
 Phat Bach Hill
 Watercress patch
 Up, up and away
 Flax Avenue
 Hope these guys had better luck fishing than Peter and Rob!
 Rexy cools off in the stream
 Home to re-pot my succulents

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peppermint Patties and Kina

Before this ends up becoming Pete's Food Blog, I had better get some of my own culinary conquests posted.  This week's project for me was to cook up some sweet treat for our coffee group visitors.  I was thinking churros until I came across this recipe for peppermint patties on the website of Saveur, my all time favorite cooking/food magazine.  I haven't dabbled much in candy making but it seemed simple enough so I went out and bought the ingredients required.  It wasn't until I got home that I actually read the recipe.  Get out your marble slab, it says.  Great, no marble slab here so a baking sheet will have to do.  I must say it was very simple to make; no stirring involved, just boil up the ingredients and with the help of a candy thermometer dump it all out onto your slab when it hits soft-ball stage.  Because I used a metal baking sheet, I'm not sure if the texture would have been different because the marble would have cooled it down much faster.  Saying that, they were excellent!  Pete ate about 5 the first evening and my coffee group friends gobbled down another 15 at least.  We still have plenty left to enjoy after our evening meal for the next few nights. 
So voila, I have been cooking and it's been damn good. 

Not to be outdone of course by Pete's most recent kaimoana experiment: kina scrambled eggs.  Kina aka sea urchin.  While he was out "working", he managed to pick up a few kina on his dive.

Thanks again to Al Brown's book Go Fish, Pete found a simple recipe for scrambled eggs with kina.  I can't even show you the photo of the finished product because it looks so disgusting but Pete reckoned that this dish is the bomb.  Try it if you like but I think I'll leave it to him to eat these weird and wonderful sea creatures.

And on a totally irrelevant side not, my nearly 4 year old daughter just said to me, "whatever mate" as only a true Cali-Kiwi could say.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another of Pete's culinary adventures

Murray, a co-worker of Pete's, bought a bucket of mutton birds, a sort of Maori speciality.  He doled out a few to the more adventurous lab employees.  Pete, of course, was one of those.  Mutton bird.  Hmmm.  Just sounds dodgy, doesn't it?  Mutton is what they call an old lamb so that grosses me out to start with.  Then to think that it's like mutton but in bird form?  Not sure about that.  Anyway, Pete was very excited about it all and finally appeared home one day with this bird in hand.  It is actually preserved in a salted manner which means you have to soak it in water to dilute the saltiness.  With Murray's advice and a quick glance in 2 Maori cookbooks, it is decided that we will boil it for an hour changing the water 3 times and then stick it under the grill to crisp it up.  To tell you the truth it just looked like a small duck.  It smelt like something really foul and wrong, especially during the hour of boiling.  Then to the crisping up of the skin and voila, c'est fini.  As he fed this mutton bird to my children, I sat cringing.  They loved it.  Rita wanted a bone.  Pete declared it delicious.  I was horrified.  The meat was very dark and very fatty.  I'll leave it at that.  More culinary delights on the way....

Food snob

I was at a friends house having an impromptu play date yesterday and she told me a funny story about my almost 4 year old daughter.  A few weeks ago when Rita was around at their place, Pam offered her a piece of cheese.  You know the kind, wrapped in plastic, a single slice of processed cheese.  Rita handed it back to Pam and said "no thanks, I only eat real cheese".  Oh dear, I think we have a food snob on our hands.  (But secretly I am quite happy about it).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Marine Life Update

The leopard seal made its way back to sea at high tide.  In the meantime, another phone call from my husband alerted me to a pod of whales just out from our house.  I had a quick look but didn't see anything until a few hours later when I was chatting to a friend on the phone and suddenly lots of blow hole fountains and random splashy movements just off the coast.  Very exciting to watch, especially from the comfort of my living room.  Lovin' this seaside village life!

News Flash!

Live from Goat Island Marine Reserve....
A leopard seal was found on the beach early this morning.  Apparently it's not that well, but it is alive.  They are usually found in Antarctica but do travel up these ways in the summer. 
Check it out:

Will keep you posted on what happens to the poor guy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

we've been busy

We have been busy in this village, just check out what we've been growing.....

Our newest little monster, due mid April.  We are very pleased to have had a normal and healthy 12 week scan and to see that baby is growing well.