Thursday, December 30, 2010

Part of the Cycle of Life?

When I watched the movie, The Lion King, I really liked the opening song, The Cycle of Life. Always thought it to be very pertinent.

What that has to do with a kettle you may well wonder.

The first time I went to visit with David and Lisa in Dallas they had a kettle on their cook top for heating water for cups of tea.

It always seemed to take ages to heat up the water and so I recommended to Lisa that they get an electric kettle as I felt it would do the job more efficiently.

Lisa bought the kettle and to this day they still use an electric jug.

However, Linda and I recently acquired an induction cooker for our kitchen and discovered that water could be heated faster on the cook top than in the electric kettle, so guess what we bought? A kettle for the cook top.

It clears some bench space and works efficiently for us - so it would appear that we have gone around one cycle of life.

One of our brothers came to visit recently and was coming to terms with the workings of an induction cook top. He wanted to know if he could use a 'real kettle' (meaning the electric one) but too late, we have entered the new cycle of life and there is no going back.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our very own river

There is always something of interest to be observed overlooking the beginnings of the Waikato River from our living area.

The water coming into the river from Lake Taupo is managed, not far away, by a control gate.

In these photos, firstly of a lone fisherman and then of some prospective swimmers, the water is low but when the water is released the beach and the rocks where the fisherman is standing, disappear under the water.

The colour of the water in the image with the swimmers is more true to type. Most of the time it is more aqua in colour than rich blue.

In addition to would be fisherman and swimmers there is the constant flow of kayakers as well as people stopping off for a picnic or, sometimes, a bit of freedom camping.

We are in the middle of the Christmas/New Year holiday season and this spot is a frequent stop off point for visitors.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Vegie Gardens and Christmas

One of the lovely things about moving to our home was the established raised beds for a vegetable garden.

We still have a lot to learn to make the most of this asset but we have already had some lovely results.

I planted peas and beans on each side of the trellis to the right of the garden. The peas took off but the beans had to have a second planting to get some results.

The peas have grown sufficiently to give us fresh peas for Christmas dinner - the beans have a way to go yet.

Our brother planted Cliff Kidney potatoes for us and again, there was sufficient for us to be able to dig and get fresh potatoes on Christmas morning.

The result - Beef Wellington, served with crushed new potatoes and fresh peas with carrots. Linda says it is one of the easiest Christmas dinners she has ever had to prepare and it was just lovely.

The white with gold trim Christmas table linen was enhanced by an arrangement by Linda, of red and white petunias, also from our garden.

Christmas would not be complete without dessert and it certainly looked as good as it tasted - pavlova roulade with fresh strawberries soaked in a little cointreau.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pike River Miners

The Pike River mining disaster in November of this year will have a huge impact on the West Coast community of the South Island of New Zealand for some time to come.

As is often the way in times of tragedy many people rally to help and we have heard many stories of those helping the families of the miners in whatever way they can.

Shirley Goodwin of Rangiora, Christchurch offered to make quilts for each of the members of the miners families and has been inundated with heart blocks and quilts.

You can read more about the responses and see some of the lovely quilts and heart blocks Shirley has received in her blog:-

Linda offered to quilt a quilt top for Shirley and this has now been completed as pictured.

The challenge for Shirley to complete remains huge and if you know of anyone who can help in any way I am sure she would love to hear from you via her blog.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What would I like for my birthday dinner was the question.

Pasta with meat sauce was my choice and very nice it was too.

A local shop, The Merchant of Taupo, stocks a most delicious Pavlova Roulade and this with brandied strawberries topped off the meal very nicely.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cactus Flower

The winter just gone was extremely cold and we have had some very hot late spring weather and as a result our cactus plant has been flowering like it never has before.

Our Mother has had this plant for a number of years but we have never seen it flower like it has for us this time around.

Until the flowers have gone it can take pride of place at the front door and then it can hide in the garden until it decides to give us more of its beauty.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Breakfast for One - or was it Brunch?

We went out looking for some garage sale bargains and in the process I neglected to have breakfast.

By the time we got home I was very hungry but it seemed too late to be having breakfast.

Instead I made pikelets (small pancakes) for morning tea but when I came to the end of the mixture I made one large pikelet, topped it with sliced banana, muesli and golden syrup.

I guess my breakfast became brunch and it was very nice.

Pikelet recipe:-

Heat fry pan to moderately hot and, using paper towel, wipe with small amount of melted butter

Melt 30 grams butter and hold

1 cup self raising flour
1 dessertspoon sugar
1 pinch salt

Place ingredients in bowl and add -
1 egg
1 cup milk

Mix thoroughly with wire whisk and add the melted butter.

Put dessertspoons of batter into moderately hot pan (6 to 7 for each lot) and when bubbles rise to the surface of the batter they are ready for turning.

When nicely browned on both sides put aside on to a plate that had a tea towel folded in half. Place the pikelets between the layers of the tea towel while you continue cooking.

Keeping the pikelets like this in the tea towel ensures a little bit of steaming and keeps the pikelets nice and soft.

Serve with butter or butter and jam of your choice and enjoy.

These have been a family favourite for years and years.

Best eaten fresh but can be frozen and eaten later.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas will probably be a low key affair at our place this year.

We are not anticipating having and visitors so it will be just the four of us.

Nice to have some Christmas decorations around the place and this week we put up Christmas quilts and accessories.

The angel wall hanging is in the sun room where Mum and I spend most of our time.

A variety of Christmas ornaments adorn the bookcase on top of a Christmas runner.