A Village Life

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Random bits n bobs

Today was the calm after the storm.  A tropical rainstorm blew through last night.  Down at Whangateau, a lake was born (or rather there was a seriously flooded rugby field).  We took the kids out for some field boarding.  Take a look..

Yesterday before the storm arrived, we headed out to the Warkworth A and P show, a sort of agriculture/farming/craft/carnival type thing.  The kids loved it and we thought the sheep racing was pretty hard case....
Last week I had intended to write a post about using my abundance of garden tomatoes to make a tomato and basil soup but I only got as far as taking a photo of the tomatoes pre-roast.

The soup was delicious; just some roma tomatoes roasted with garlic and thyme and blended up with some homemade chicken stock and loads of fresh basil.  The following day I used the leftover soup as a pasta sauce and it we gobbled it up on fettucine with grated parmesan, super yum.

To Peter's horror I rented a few dvd's while I was in town to keep us entertained this week.  The horror part is that they were all foreign films with subtitles.  The first one we watched was a brilliant film "Seraphine".  If you haven't heard of it I would highly recommend watching it.  I am now obsessed with this woman's art but have yet to find somewhere to purchase a print of one of her beautiful paintings.
And last but not least, I have gotten the crochet bug once again and have yet to put down my hook for a single evening over the past few weeks.  Two blankets and 3 beanies later I am still going strong.  Once I finish a beanie for each family member I will post some photos.  At Twinset and Pearls in Warkworth, Charmaine has helped me find some unique beautiful yarns that will hopefully suit us all once winter arrives.

Cheerio for now

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Only in New Zealand

On Sunday night, a friend of ours was at the Leigh Fish 'N Chip Shop (just down the road from our house) and who did he run into but John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand.  Fancy seeing the man who runs the country in your local fish n chip shop!  Rob said, "Hey John, how's your holiday been?".  No beefy security, no paparazzi, nothing, just John Key picking up some kai for his family. 
Imagine walking up to the President of the United States (if you were ever able to get that close to him through his security entourage) and saying, "hey Barack, how's it going?".  Would never happen.  One more thing to love about New Zealand, a casual laid back leader who is just your typical Kiwi bloke.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lucky Us

Last week I was very busy helping out Lindy at Feast Catering.  As usual, wedding dates doubled up which saw us catering 2 weddings both on Friday evening.  Lindy took the sit down dinner party for 55 and I went to the canapes for 120 party.  We were flat out all day Thursday and Friday making 1500 canapes and prepping salads and mains for Lindy's sit down dinner.  As we nattered away in the kitchen, she mentioned how lucky it was that Pete took notice of her commercial kitchen whilst he was on her property a few years ago doing some work.  How would she be managing if she hadn't found me to help her?  So...the story goes.....Pete was water blasting her house a few years back, which was the business that we used to own, Mobi-kair water tank cleaning, repairs and water blasting. Being the typical curious peeping tom tradesman, he poked his head into the out-building on her property and noticed there was a full commercial kitchen inside.  He asked Lindy what she did in the kitchen and she said that she ran a catering business.  "Oh, my wife is a chef" yada yada ya....I've been working for Lindy for the past 3 years now.  Funny how these things happen, isn't it?  Then I got thinking about it and actually I found Pete's job for him as well!  I am involved in a coffee group of mums who met at prenatal classes.  We started with a mums and bubs meeting once a fortnight which continued through the years although much less frequently now that our babies are 4 year olds.  At one of these play dates I mentioned to one of the mums that Pete wasn't that happy running his own business; it was lonely, full of long hours and physically demanding.  She knew our background of working on yachts and said that there was a job going at the Leigh Marine Lab for a technician.  It involved diving, trips on the research vessel, maintaining the water systems, etc.  Sounded perfect and with one week before the job applications closed, I suggested to Pete to sort out his C.V. and apply.  Nothing to lose, right?  After a month or so of reviewing 30 or 40 applications, they came down to the final cut of applicants who would be interviewed.  Pete was one of them.  On the day of the interview he was so sick with a cold or flu that he wasn't holding out much hope.  He came home and didn't think it went that well.  What a surprise it was to find out after agonizing for months that he did indeed land "The Best Job in the World".  It suits him down to a tee.  Lucky for us we even managed to sell the Mobi-kair business not long after despite the downturn in the economy. 
We are now happily living in Leigh just down the road from the Lab and Pete gets to spend much more time with the kids than he would've if he was still self employed.  And I couldn't have picked myself a better job either!  It's part time, pays well and Lindy and I get on like a house on fire.  It is so much fun! 
Lucky us, we found each others dream jobs..... for each other!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Just a few of the meals we enjoyed from the kingfish......

kingfish sashimi with lemon and olive oil
marinated kingfish skewers
and of course ice cold steinlager

served with haloumi and rocket salad with sumac pita crisps

grilled kingfish steaks with spicy mango slaw 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The King Fish

After declaring the Mahurangi bad fishing grounds, the boys were raring to get back to their normal stomping grounds in Leigh to catch some fish.

How's this for a good start to a New Year:

On the evening of the 1st of January, Pete said he was going out fishing.  He "felt like he was going to catch a big one" he told me.  "Whatever" I thought, as usual.  Off he went after putting the girls to bed.  I collapsed on to my own comfortable bed after a hot shower to enjoy an hour or so of quiet reading before dozing off.  Just as I was getting sleepy, the phone rang.  Usually nobody calls us after 8 pm because I am always in bed very early being a pregnant mum of 2 small children.  Someone must have died I thought to myself or why would anyone be phoning us at nearly 9pm (not very late really I know).  Pete, on the other end of the phone, tells me not to go to bed yet (too late for that) that he was coming home with a whopper, a huge kingfish.  See you in 20 minutes he says.  Really?  In 20 minutes I will definitely be asleep.  Well, I stayed awake.  Wrapped up in my robe, I waddled out (no, I'm not that pregnant yet actually but it sounds quite good) to the backyard.  Low and behold it was a pretty mighty fish, weighing in at 15kg.  Check it out.

 Apparently some guys in another boat watched Pete reel in the fish and on his own wrestle it into his very small dinghy.  Before he came home he called in to his mate's house to show off the first big catch of the year, of course. 
Stay tuned in to find out how we managed to get through 15 kg of kingfish flesh in 3 days.  We've calculated that it fed close to 50 people.  It also had 4 decomposed fish in its stomach that Pete used as bait.  With that bait he caught another fish.  I don't know whether that is amazing or disgusting but it certainly is frugality at its best. 
One more interesting thing; the fish was tagged by the Ministry of Fisheries and the tag says reward - please measure and sex.  He joked that he thought about having sex with it but decided against it.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lazy Days

We've just spent 4 days staying at a bach in the Mahurangi with some friends of ours and their children.  Who would've thought we could actually totally relax in a small house filled with 4 energetic little girls?  Well relax indeed we did.  Hanging about reading books and trashy magazines, trying to do crossword puzzles, sipping on chilled white wine, feasting on all sorts of summer delights, swimming in the lagoon, boogie boarding at the beach, hiking, the list goes on....
It was the perfect holiday escape.  The men hunted and gathered and fished and speared with not too much success but they had fun doing it.  And the women lounged and read and sipped and swam.  The kids exhausted themselves swimming and mucking around in the lagoon, played "house" and Barbie for hours and chatted endlessley until they had to separate themselves so they could actually get to sleep. 
But in the end it is always nice to come home too!
Celebrating Rita's 4th birthday with chocolate cupcakes

Bath time the old school way
The Bach

The whole gang

What a view!