Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another holiday

I'm off to Australia for a couple of weeks.

First Sydney, where I'll catch up with some old friends and go to the Big Day Out (especially to see Iggy and the Stooges and Grinderman), then Adelaide to see the grandkids and be present when the big one starts school.

It's all very exciting. Be back in two weeks with some photos.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Healthy vege chips

At my friend Craig's birthday party the other day I tasted beetroot chips (which were delicious) that another guest made and brought with her. She told me how to make them, so I did, last night.

First get a couple of beetroots, and a carrot if you want …

… peel them, slice them as thinly as you can with a mandolin, and arrange on oven trays:

Salt and pepper them …

… then bake in a low oven (~120°C) for an hour or so. Peel the still slightly soft, paper-thin, slices off the trays and leave to cool, at which time they will be very crisp:

And that's it. They are scrumptious, healthy, and non-fattening. Store in an airtight container if there are any left to store.

The only down side is that they stick a bit - this is a tray with the bits I couldn't peel off:

Next time I think I'll use silicone baking mats.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some scenes from my Christmas Holiday

Lake Tarawera: The bach we rented was across the road from this wee bay. It was a real traditional bach, furnished with cast offs from peoples' homes. It even contained a gramophone and some records. My brother anchored the boat here every night.

Paul's boat is the one on the right. This is the start of the track between Lakes Tarawera and Rotomahana.

Goodness knows what this shelter is in aid of - it looks like a bus shelter made of punga logs but there's only boats, and very few people, for miles:

On the track to Lake Rotomahana. All of this bush has grown since the Tarawera eruption of 1886:

Lake Rotomahana, with Mt Tarawera in the background:

Nephew, niece, and their friends, at the Lake Rotomahana end of the track:

Huka Falls, just outside Taupo:

The view from the house we rented in Taupo:

And again, about 45° to the left:

This house was more like a proper rental house than a bach, this is my bedroom:

It was pleasantly cool, although it had no view. My brother and sister-in-law's room was at the front of the house with the view and the heat, and all the kids had a big room downstairs, furnished with three single and one double beds, plus a set of bunks.

We visited Café L'Arté for brunch, and all very much enjoyed the outdoor mosaic living room:

And the reason for the trip? This bit of water is where my brother and I scattered our parents' ashes over the back of the boat.

It was one of Dad's favourite fishing spots, and he and Mum spent many happy hours there in their boat.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Zucchini fettucine

I absolutely need to lose some weight. I put on a couple of kilos over Christmas, and I've been slowly putting on a kilo here and there for the last couple of years.

Large amounts of vegetables for dinner, with little or no carbohydrate, is the plan.

Possibly starting of with a heap of animal fat isn't the absolutely best thing to do, but really it's the only major source of calories in this meal.

So, about an ounce or so of my home cured guanciale …

… skin removed, diced, and fried to render all the fat …

… an onion  sliced …

… added and fried until soft:

Then the fat poured off into a larger pan …

… leaving just the onion and guanciale …

… to which four quartered (actually sixthed) tomatoes are added …

… and cooked down, the skins removed as they loosen:

Two medium zucchini sliced wide and thin on the mandoline sautéed fast in the pan with the fat from the guanciale …

… until cooked, but still more or less intact …

… then served in a pasta plate topped by the tomato sauce and a small crumbling of blue cheese …

… because the friends who were house sitting for me over Christmas left some in the fridge.

It was delicious, and added up to about 500 Cal.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Prosciutto Pt4.

It's been a good while since I hung my leg of pig up under the house to mature, and I have an Italian themed semi pot-luck birthday party to go to next weekend. Time to get the leg down and see what it's turned out like.

The lard and pepper covering the cut end look most unappetising …

… and getting the sticky mess off the ham was a mission and a half. There has to be a better way of either protecting the ham from drying too much, or of getting the lard off if that's what's used.

This pile of paper towels was all used to wipe off what was left after I scraped the bulk off with a spoon:

The ham itself though …

… is rather nice. I think it might make a good centrepiece for Craig's birthday dinner table.