Monday, March 21, 2011


I have various posts ready to do, but I had a house guest just recently who has used up my whole month's worth of broadband (10GB) so I'm at dial up speed at home until after the 26th. Can't upload photos at that rate, so this blog is on hold until after I get back from a motorbike race meeting in Palmerston North next weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adelaide shoes 2

These were also $30 from Zu in my last trip to Adelaide, and are laser cut leather:

Shorter than yesterday's, and with lower but spikier heels.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adelaide boots 1.

I bought two pairs of shoes on my recent visit to Adelaide.

Number one is this pair of laser-cut leather peep-toe ankle boots:

The heels are rather high, but thick, so not too difficult to walk in. Not easy, mind you. Wouldn't want to go for my lunchtime walk in them.

They were $30 in Zu's sale - as was the other pair I bought, which I'll show you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Grey" shoe-boots

I've bought several pairs of shoes since Christmas, but haven't got around to wearing any of them until today. Most of them are also not very suitable for work (or for walking in at all for that matter) so I probably won't be posting any more for a while.

These are some shoe boots I bought from's sale. The colour is supposed to be grey.

To me it looks more like taupe, but there you go. It is the colour it looked on the website, so it is the colour I wanted. Just an odd name for it.

They're not super-comfy to walk in, but you can do it. They have about a half-inch hidden platform. And that zip you can see? Purely decorative. There's another on the inside that goes straight down which you use for getting them on and off.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Offal and dumplings

Yesterday I wasn't very hungry during the day, and managed to get to dinner time with a lot of uneaten calories in my budget. Time for dumplings!

You need a lot of gravy for dumplings. I had some beef kidney in the fridge; it is very flavoursome and can make a very gravy-ish stew, so I browned them and some onions, and made a good tasty gravy with some white wine. Dumplings, which are basically scone dough with some parsley added, went on top for the last 15 minutes or so of cooking.

Served again with my favourite runner beans, this is real comfort food for me.

Low carb dinner

Three lamb chops with my very favourite vegetable of all time - Scarlet Runner Beans.

According to Wikipedia, people in America don't eat these beans, although they do grow them for their brilliant red flowers. What a waste! They are delicious; boiled for maybe 5 minutes, drained, and a small knob of butter melted on them. I could actually eat nothing but runner beans when they are in season, but that wouldn't be very nutritionally balanced.

They are also very yummy with cheese sauce, but that is extremely fattening. I've managed to lose 4kg since mid January by assiduously counting the calories in everything I put in my mouth, and don't want to jeopardise my progress.

Green papaya salad II

I had another go at something like green papaya salad last week. Not being able to get green papaya, this time I mixed papaya that was as green as I could find (firm, but still yellow) with daikon radish. It worked well, the daikon gave it the crispness that was missing from the papaya, but didn't add too much in the way of flavour.

I ate it with some sliced veal fillet and tomatoes:

Earthquake relief

The aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake is basically a lot of mess to clean up. There are massive amounts of rubble in the CBD, with far too many bodies buried underneath, that needs to be cleared away by expert crews. But this is actually by far the least of the mess. Not very many people actually live in the CBD, most people live in grassy suburban areas, many of which have suffered badly from liquefaction - where the ground liquefies and silt bubbles up through it leaving mounds of sludge, much of it contaminated from broken sewers, in people's gardens and houses. Not a few houses have sunk right into it. Imagine you are at the beach, below the high tide mark, and the tide is just going out. If you pat the wet but firm sand quickly it becomes liquefied and flows. That's what happened to a whole city.

Two separate groups of people have formed "Armies" to deal with the cleanup. There's the Farmy Army, a group of farmers from nearby districts who turned up with utes and wheelbarrows and shovels, then there's the Student Volunteer Army, the nucleus of which is almost the entire student body of Canterbury University. The students asked the students at Otago (the university where I work) if they could manage to provide 10,000 packed lunches, enough to keep the Canterbury students fed at lunchtime for a week. The students and staff and friends and families fell to with a will last Friday night, and delivered over 10,000 lunches to the Otago student union by 6pm the next day.

They requested things like muesli bars, tinned tuna, crackers, chocolate. All non-perishable items. I added little pottles of fruit and jelly, or boxes of dried fruit to mine. I also made some vegetarian versions with baked beans instead of tuna, and stuck a piece of cheese into each lunch.

This is my pile of lunch stuff:

Instead of buying muesli bars (I thought the shops might well run out if 10,000 were in demand) I made my own. They're what the English call "flapjack".

Large quantities of butter …

… with white and brown sugars …

… are melted together with some honey, golden syrup, or other flavoured syrup. I used what was left of a bottle of "Maple Flavoured Syrup":

Then you mix up quite a lot of rolled oats along with whatever dried fruit takes your fancy. I used chopped dried apricots, dessicated coconut, currants, and raisins.

You mix solid with melted ingredients, then press out into a tray and bake for 30-odd minutes at 190°C

My flapjack was made in three oven trays, and contained 1.5kg of rolled oats!

Three pieces went into each of my 27 packed lunches.

Apparently the students were getting very very sick of muesli bars by the end of the week! Better than being sick of being hungry though.

Flapjack (Muesli Bar)

200g butter
160g sugar (brown, or brown and white mixed)
500g coarse oatmeal or oatmeal and rolled oats
1/2 cup honey or golden syrup
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup mixed dried fruit and/or nuts/and/or seeds

Preheat oven to 190°C
Melt butter, sugar, and honey or syrup in a pot
Add mixed dry ingredients
Press into an oven tray and bake until browned all over
Mark into slices when slightly cooled, then when completely cold cut the slices apart.

Sfogliatelle 2.

So, I was supposed to be going to Christchurch for some motorbike racing last weekend - but the earthquake put paid to that. Better luck next year.

The sfogliatelle pastry and filling I froze the weekend before was going to be used to make pastries to take away with me. There was no way I could eat that many withouyt blowing up like a balloon, so I thought I might as well do some good with them. I made them on the Thursday night, but instead of taking them to Christchurch I took them to work and sold them at morning tea time, raising $25 to send to Christchurch for the earthquake relief. Of course I did eat some too!

There wasn't quite enough filling for all of the pastry, so I used chopped apricot and nectarine for the extras:

I ended up with about one and a half trays full …

… and this time I didn't overcook them!

The basket I took them to work in - or, if you are fussy, in which I took them to work: