A Village Life

Friday, September 30, 2011

Let the kaimoana fest begin again

It's that time of year again when I lose my husband to the sea. Scallop season has opened, daylight savings has begun and Peter has finished building his smokehouse. This translates into diving on the weekends, fishing after work until the sun goes down and collecting, harvesting and killing anything and everything that can be smoked. We've actually had lots of dinner parties and food occasions lately but when you've got 3 kids, there's no time to stop, take the camera out and document the fun.  You've missed out on rooster enchiladas.  No, that's not a misprint.  A friend had some roosters she didn't want so Pete gave them the chop and I whipped up some handmade corn tortillas and a rich red chile sauce and ta da...rooster enchiladas.  Those went to a housewarming party.  For the All Blacks France game we made oxtail stew served on homemade papardelle with a chocolate caramel tart for dessert and pork crackling as a midnight snack.  (I had to prove Pete wrong for his comment that "there are some things vegetarians can't cook and pork crackling is one of them".)  Here are some feasts we did manage to get on camera....

caramelized citrus pork belly

Family lunch with Peter's Turbot and Michael's amazing sourdough bread (which didn't get photographed but was picture perfect and left me a bit bloated 2 loaves later).

The Main Event, speared by Pete whilst on a scallop dive.

New Season Scallops with Sauteed Silverbeet washed down with the King of Beers.

Helping stoke the fire in the new smokehouse.

The finished goods: snapper, snapper heads and mussels.

Stay tuned for plenty more.....the season has just begun!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Secret Ingredient: Beer

Today I am linking up with Danielle at http://www.elleinadspir.com/ for her Tuesday recipe link.  And today's secret ingredient is........Beer! (I feel like I am on iron chef). 
My Gramps used to make his own special barbeque sauce with a secret ingredient of beer.  With nothing to go by but taste memory I experimented to come up with my own version of Gramps' sauce.  I found some pork ribs for Pete to trial it on and I slathered mine thickly on some pan fried tofu.  The consensus was......absolutely delicious as shown here:

Ingredients and Method:

steinlager, king of beers

mix it all up

cook it up
1 small onion grated
1 clove of garlic crushed
1/2 bottle of beer (the other half went down a treat for lunch on Friday)
1 small tin of tomato paste
a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
large dash of soy sauce
big pinch of salt
chili powder and black pepper to taste

Mix up all ingredients and cook down for about 30 minutes over simmering heat.
Pretty easy, eh?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spring Fever

Amidst preschool politics, sick children and windy cold weather I have somehow managed to come down with a serious case of spring fever.  Seed mix in hand I planted out a variety of seeds today: watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, cavolo nero, basil, borlotti beans, the list goes on. 

fingers crossed, I've never been that great at growing from seed

awww, Rexy

I can't wait to get planting.  I spruced up the veg bed the other day (ripped out all the weeds actually).  Pete has brought home a bunch of timber that was due to be thrown out from his work so my new front yard vegetable beds are making progress already.  We have started our summer list as inspired by Estelle at Under A Pink Moon.  It seems hard to avoid it being a list of jobs rather than a list of fun things to do or accomplish this summer.  Nonetheless we are working on our list and it is revving me up for an awesome summer.  Yesterday I moved another quite large piece of furniture into a "much better location" after seeing an idea in a furniture catalog.  The day before that I experimented with something I had never made before: hokey pokey (honeycomb for the non-kiwis).  When I showed it to Pete he responded with "oh, it didn't work".

melt together sugar and golden syrup, then boil for 2 minutes

add baking soda and voila!
I thought it did work and was quite proud showing him the result.  My idea was to use it to make homemade violet crumble bars with dark chocolate.  It is still in my plan but I think I'll try making a bigger batch of the hokey pokey to work with.  I'll call this one the first attempt.  Anyway, lots happening here due to this fever of mine and if anyone has any summer list suggestions I'd be love to hear from you!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Have you ever heard of hand, foot and mouth disease?  Well we've got it.  It sucks.  Mouth ulcers and fever are two physical symptoms but it actually turns your little children into complete nightmares.  It really does.  I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.  Even I've got it. I thought I was just imagining it but no sure enough they are real blisters on my hands now.  What the ?  So annoying!
We are on day 4 of being home tending to sick kiddies.  Ugh!  Sleepless nights, snotty noses, fevers, general malaise, irrationality, whingeing and whining.  It's just about the most challenging thing we've ever done.  Luckily Pete got to go back to work today; well lucky for him.  It was a long weekend with not many high points for either of us.  Well I take that back.  We did watch Ireland beat Australia in the Rugby World Cup tournament.  I pray that tomorrow they are well enough to drop off at preschool for the day.  I need a break from 4 long days of making cozy sick beds in the living room and changing DVDs from one annoying kids program to another even more annoying one.  Yesterday thinking they were on the mend I decided to try to do some baking with the girls.  It went down quite well actually and here is the result...

OK so it doesn't look as flash as Estelle's but it does taste pretty good and the lemon curd did stay in the center.  Rita really wanted to make "that cake that Estelle made for Jen's birthday".  My daughter who doesn't even like cake, who scarfed down 2 pieces of Estelle's masterpiece.  Last night when it was time to dig in she ate a few bites and then said she wanted to save the rest for later.  Obviously it didn't live up to the one in her memory! 
And now back to being nurse....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Birthday Girl

Gigi turned 2 on September 13th. She didn't really have a clue what was happening but we prompted her to say "2" when asked how old she was. She knew something was up and seemed pretty stoked when she kept getting gifts throughout the day. At preschool they had a little party for her and she wore the crown and cape and sat at a table in front of the other little kids. Gigi was a bit freaked out about being in the Queen seat and then became disappointed when Zane hopped up quickly and blew out the candles on her cake. We re-lit the candles and she blew them out, this time on her own.  Nana and Pa came over for her birthday dinner that evening; homemade papardelle with tomato sauce and flour less chocolate cake with Charlie's gelato.  The excitement of the day mixed with the sugar and caffeine in the dark chocolate cake and gelato took its toll and she was awake all night!  Welcome to two our dearest little Genevieve.

new shoes from grandma

what the heck is this all about?!

whoopie pies for all

I think Rita is more excited about the bike than Gigi

and a sleeping bag from mum and dad

another cake for me? (dark cocolate polenta cake, yum)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More California

cute buns

baby face

cheers to the girls...and more margaritas!


the big race!

picture perfect moment

what up homes...this is my bike

3 years on since the last time they frolicked in the grapevines together

AOK swimmers

crashed out...too much holiday fun
breastfeeding mamas

playing ball with auntie mikie

could I fit one more on my lap?

Friday, September 9, 2011


There is so much to say about our California holiday that I don't even know where to start.  So I won't even go there.  Here are a collection of photos from my favorite moments over the past 3 weeks.
meeting up with old friends

all of our children hanging out together


visiting with papa steve


happy grandma, happy baby

yummy cake for jen's birthday
To be continued........

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And now with a great sigh...

We fall back into the routine of our simple life.  It was a whirlwind 3 weeks in California but we enjoyed and savoured every single moment.  Each year we go back I see more clearly how far apart my two worlds really are.  The place where I was raised, where all my old dearest friends and family still live and where I have some of my fondest memories versus the place where I have settled, am making new friends and where I am raising my own family.  The two couldn't be more different.  This morning as I walked home from preschool in the brisk sunshine, I heard the sound of birds.  And that was it.  No cars, no construction work, nothing but birds singing.  I saw the woman who works at the shop (there is only one shop), I said hi to my neighbour who noticed we were away and laughed uncomfortably when I suggested that it would be a bit noisier in the hood now that we were home.  I hung out the washing to dry on the clothes line and picked a carrot from my garden.  There was no jumping in a car to head off to do something or go somewhere.  I am just home and doing laundry, thinking of what to cook for my family tonight and writing preschool committee dates on the calendar.  Yesterday after I rearranged the furniture in the living room (spring is in the air) and unpacked the kids' suitcases we went down to the beach to play.  We ran into another family from the preschool so we strolled the beach looking for shells, watched the ducks play in the estuary and played on the playground.  The other mother and I talked about our children and families.  I learned she has 6 girls!  I counted my blessings that I only have 3 to deal with.  It was a glorious few hours in one of my favorite spots.  The sun was shining, the water was blue and the hills were green.  Oh how I love my simple life!