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December 20, 2012

all is calm, all is bright | farewell 2012

The time has come! It's the end of the year, the beginning of the holidays, and I couldn't be more happy about it. I'm planning on reading a few books, spending some quality time with family and friends, treating my hair to regular doses of salt from the sea, probably gaining a few more freckles, and generally making merry. I flew home last night and I've already spent time with Dad up in the Wairarapa, played a few carols on the piano, caught up with an uncle and a cousin.. and the weather has been warm, so warm for this summer solstice day (that may or may not be the end of the world). 

I wanted to take this time to thank each and every one of you who take the time to follow along with my blogging journey - I truly appreciate and value each and every one of your comments. I hope your holiday season is kind, relaxed, happy and joyful; and if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, fingers crossed for a white Christmas! For me, I'll be contemplating whether or not a river swim is in order, and hopefully basking in the sun. I'm signing off until the New Year (will be back with lots of recipes early January) - have a very happy one. In the meantime, please enjoy my December playlist - not too Christmassy, don't worry - and my favourite results of a black and white film I recently developed. 

Arohanui, namaste.. xx


1. the submarines - birds
2. bob dylan - little drummer boy
3. vampire weekend - cape cod kwassa kwassa
4. iva lamkum - black eagle
5. 17 hippies - el dorado
6. the magic numbers - take a chance
7. lcd soundsystem - movement
8. ben howard - keep your head up
9. mariah carey - o holy night
10. cary brothers - blue eyes
11. okkervil river - a girl in port
12. bic runga - birds
13. she & him - christmas wish
14. beach house - childhood
15. band of horses - is there a ghost
16. bing crosby - medley: what child is this/the holly and the ivy
17. neutral milk hotel - in the aeroplane over the sea
18. coheed & cambria - always & never
19. ella fitzgerald - have yourself a merry little christmas
20. explosions in the sky - postcard from 1952
21. local natives - sun hands
22. the beach boys - cotton fields
23. the brian jonestown massacre - somewhere
24. bing crosby - mere kalikimaka (merry christmas)

December 16, 2012

all the silver girls gave us black dreams | things lately

I've been a bit quiet around here, after the intensity of last week I've been enjoying evenings spent at home or in the garden, taking pictures here and there ..

1. As authentic as I could make - dal makhani. One of my favourite Indian curries that I made for dinner tonight to celebrate the fact that this time last year I was heading to India.
2. Ginger and cracked black pepper - crucial additions to the perfect cup of chai tea. Saffron is another decadent addition!
3. This afternoon was a wet, warm one - quite unusual for Dunedin. The windows were open and the pot was steaming, just like the ground outside. 
4. Rye bread and Bonne Maman cherry conserve - delicious!
5. One of many coriander plants in our garden that I harvested this week.
6. Coriander roots, ready for processing.
7. Simple crostini made with going-stale sourdough, home made coriander pesto, tomato, red onion, feta for the annual Maitland St barbeque which started outside in our courtyard and finished much later in our landlord's place with dainty small glasses of cointreau "that's not for the parsley!" and the trying on of vintage hats from the 1920's. A most excellent evening!
8. One from India last year - a rooftop restaurant in the desert city of Jaisalmer.
9. Spice paste - I made four different types of kratiem prik thai spice paste with our big coriander roots harvested this week from the garden.
10. Spice paste, frozen in convenient usable amounts in our ice cube tray.
11. Sunrise in Wellington last week - photo taken at 5:30am, the beginning of a beautiful day. 

I cannot write a post without mentioning the unmentionable - the tragedy of the loss of 28 lives this week in Conneticut. I've avoided news articles on it, as it is just heartbreaking. It makes me realise the value of taking time to be grateful, being mindful, and appreciative. I also sometimes think how incredibly lucky I am for all of it - every single thing I have, lucky to be born to the supportive parents I was born to, to be blessed with brothers and a sister, to live in a house, to have a wide range of friends, to enjoy the food I am able to enjoy. It's overwhelming how lucky we all are, against the most incredible odds. 

This year we're not doing Christmas presents. My sister and I might make small crackers for our family members (she might not know this yet... Hi loo lah!) but apart from that we'll just be enjoying the time together, just the six of us. If the weather is nice we will drive up to a secluded piece of land in the middle of the forest, and stay in a simple hut and possibly sleep under the stars. We won't have a huge Christmas dinner as we'll be limited to what we can carry on our backs into the hutt - it's a 40 minute walk from the end of the road. It's going to be simple and relaxed, and I for one am looking forward to it. What will your Christmas look like?

I leave you with this video - I thought of the story of stuff after I watched it, and implore you to recycle, reuse, make something for your gifts. I read a lovely post today about making a vegetable garden for a Christmas present. Show people you care by caring also for the planet.


day 6/365
today I'm grateful for gardens and all the goodness they provide - the satisfaction of nurturing a seedling, watching it grow, and harvesting it. Our coriander produced a bumper crop this year that got made into pesto, kratiem prik thai spice paste, and gifted to a few friends. We still have some leaves frozen for future garnishes! 


title from conversation 16 - the national

December 10, 2012

the moment is now | bare-cupboard salad

I've been away and it's been fantastic. I travelled up the country over land by car, train, and ferry, and spent time along the way catching up with family and friends I haven't seen for a while. The final three days were spent in Auckland, attending Power Shift, a youth summit focussing on climate change and action we need to take. It was intense and inspiring, and I'm still processing my thoughts and ideas and plans ... There are many more things to say but I will save them for another day. The top picture shows the train we travelled on, passing by the coast in between Kaikoura and Blenheim in the South Island.

We (unfortunately) had to fly back last night - and after the scariest experience I've ever had on a plane caused a delay of a couple of hours, we got home close to midnight. The plane was halfway through taking off - accelerating down the runway - when the brakes were suddenly applied and the take off was aborted. After sitting in the plane while the pilots and engineers chatted, it was decided to change planes for our journey - much to everyone's relief.

When I got home this afternoon I realised I had completely forgotten to stop by Taste Nature on my way home. Our lovely friends had stopped by and left milk bottles in our fridge and a loaf of beautiful bread on our bench, as well as completely spring cleaning the kitchen, and leaving a worm farm by our front door! However, a worm farm won't help you produce vegetables in time for dinner ... but your garden will.

I felt much more inspired after collecting arugula, coriander, kale, chard and nasturtiums from the garden. I put some red and white quinoa on to boil and this simple, bare-cupboard salad was born.

bare-cupboard salad

1 cup quinoa
1 onion
a few leaves of chard
a few leaves of kale
arugula (or mesclun/spinach)
pumpkin seeds
raw nuts - I used peanuts
chia seeds (optional)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt
cracked pepper

Wash the quinoa and put it on to boil with plenty of water. While this is cooking, chop the kale leaves into small pieces, avoiding the "ribs" (the stem/stalk part). Put the chopped kale in a bowl, add a little olive oil and a good amount of salt, and massage it with your fingers. It might sound strange, but massaging helps break down the fibre and starches in the kale that can make it quite bitter. You will notice that after about two minutes of massaging, the leaves are now softer, darker, and silkier. The amount will probably appear to halve in size too. Taste it - it tastes different now!

Slice the onion and chard and sauté these briefly. At the same time, dry roast the nuts and seeds. I just do this in a fry pan without adding oil. Make sure to move the nuts around a bit during this process, either by stirring or shaking the pan. You will know they are ready because the pumpkin seeds will start popping.

The quinoa will most likely be done by now - you'll see that the circles have popped open and released a little worm shape - this will make sense if you've cooked with quinoa before! Quinoa is such a versatile food - you can substitute it for rice or pasta - or you can eat it colder as in this recipe. It's good for you as it's a complete protein - meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. An essential amino acid is one that cannot be synthesised by our bodies, so it's important to ensure our diets contain adequate amounts of these amino acids.

Drain the quinoa and rinse cold water through it to end the cooking process. Assemble all the previously prepared ingredients together, mix to distribute evenly. Chop the coriander and add this too. I made a simple dressing for this with equal amounts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a little salt and pepper - but as I made a much larger salad to take for lunch tomorrow, I kept this on the side.

I ate this with a plain piece of toast - and I felt pretty pleased I managed to pull this together from a rather bare cupboard, and motivate my tired body to make some dinner when it was just me at home.  If you needed a reason to start a vegetable garden, hopefully this post will help convince you! Our garden is currently producing so much coriander - it always amazes me at what a transformation it is, big tall plants from tiny, delicate seedlings we planted two months ago. Our neighbours left/gifted their blender to us while we were away so I think that pesto might be in order .. 


day 5/365
today I'm grateful for inspiring individuals and the chance to connect with passionate people over the weekend. A quote from the weekend "we are unstoppable: another world is possible." - which ties in nicely with the 100% possible campaign that was just launched - check it out! 


title from macklemore ft ryan lewis - ten thousand hours (love the malcolm gladwell mention)