Wednesday, 31 December 2008
I spent much of Monday preparing the various bits and pieces required for both a Peach Sorbet and a Strawberry Ice Cream, after noting the glut of cream and strawberries in mum's fridge. However I didn't quite get around to doing the strawberry puree for the ice cream - I'd already done sugar syrup, peach puree and vanilla custard by that stage, so had really had enough. Consequently, Peach Sorbet was the first up!
Here's Snowy in action, churning the peach, sugar syrup, lemon juice up into sorbet....
And here's the absolutely delicious end result - the best peach sorbet I've ever tasted! Very impressed!
Sunday, 28 December 2008
Personally I didn't quite make it all the way to New Chum's, but Simon did, and picked up a few pics along the way, while I took some contemplative pics from the rocks at Whangapoua.
Friday, 26 December 2008
I think we got this wine as a present from one of Jane's friends who appreciates a good wine.
This wine is a beautiful dark ruby red colour. To the nose, I don't think it's anything wonderful; if anything the alcohol overtones may be a little too strong. To start with, I thought it was a little dry and a bit tannic but then it opened up with a bit of airing (and maybe the consumption of a glass helped too) and I would now class it in the medium-dry territory with light tannins. It is packed with fruit-filled flavour, with plum and berry flavours shining through. It has a long tail and is a whole-of-mouth experience that has sufficient complexity to beg you to have another drop. This is accompanied by a nice thin-medium thickness in terms of mouth feel.
This is drinking well now and I expect would cellar well for a few more years at least. This is great to drink on its own, but its light tannins would also lend itself well to accompanying a light-medium fatty meal such as a Scotch Fillet or Rib Eye Steak.
Yet another wine we would drink again.
Monday, 22 December 2008
So I wandered down to Sabato (who fortunately are open for an additional half hour at present) and foraged through their delicatessen, gathering tasty looking morsels aplenty. (Ok, so this was a hell of lot easier than the foraging of yesteryear, no brambles to be seen, but it FELT like I was foraging.)
Wandered home, pruned our prolific bougainvillea bushes (not that you'd notice) to add a splash of colour to the table, chilled the 2002 Chandon ZD (as per Simon's tasting notes) and assembled the below platter of divine deliciousness. Splendid!
Friday, 19 December 2008
It was a lovely sunny and warm day today, and Jane decided to put together a marvellous Antipasto platter with lots of delights from Sabato. To accompany this we (or more accurately Jane) decided that some bubbles would be great so we chose to have a Chandon ZD Vintage Brut 2002.
Jane received this sparkling wine as a Christmas gift from her work a year or two back and we had decided to wait until we had a suitable meal to accompany it. Between totally forgetting about it and just not feeling like bubbles it has taken us a while to get around to opening it.
This is a beautifully balanced sparkling wine which is crisp, fresh and dry with a light sweetness predominantly comprised of a Honeysuckle and Green Apple flavour. There is a light Apple and Honeysuckle aroma to the nose and this is complemented with a lovely light golden hue. In terms of mouth feel, it is nice and light with fine bubbles that accompany it well. It is very easy to drink, and in terms of age is drinking perfectly and there is no sign of any deterioration. The Crown Seal would also aid this in terms of longer cellaring.
We would both definitely drink this again.
Monday, 24 November 2008
The 2004 Seifried Pinot Noir is a very smooth wine, drinking well now. It is a very pale red colour, with sweet cherry to the nose. Light tannins, but not overpowering. Nice and warming for a dull rainy day and the flavour is not as sweet as the smell. A little empty at the front of the palette, very thin, with not a very long mouth feel. A hint of green capisicum to taste.
I think it is a nice drop I could easily drink, but the short thin pallete is not screaming out to me that I should have this again in a hurry. Jane doesn't think much of it at all and said that if it was a pricier Pinot Noir she would be disappointed (she was tasting it blind and formed this opinion). She feels that it's filmy coating will leave a flavour in her mouth she doesn't like from some Pinot Noir's .
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Brick Bay itself is a beautiful, peaceful destination and beats nature trails in that you're not just walking for the sake of it and with a single goal of getting to the end.
Rather, you have little spots of interest all along the way and the need to keep you wits about you to spot (or in one instance, hear) the various installments. We enjoyed their Vineyard Platter for a very late lunch at about 3pm. How unlike us!
Monday, 16 June 2008
Anyways, we had a lovely weekend just been. It was Mum's birthday, so we headed down to Huntly on Saturday arvo, cats in tow (actually we weren't that mean, that got to sit on the back seat). And thanks to a colleague who has kindly leant me his tripod, I practised some time-exposure shots of Huntly. (click on the pic to jump to my Flickr page for more weekend shots).
check out flickr for more of my pics
Sunday, 18 May 2008
It was a beautiful sunny day today, so we decided to invite some friends over for afternoon tea on the deck. To accompany our afternoon tea we opened up a Coopers Creek Hawkes Bay Rose 2007. According to the bottle this is 50:50 Merlot/Malbec.
I wasn't overly fussed with it, but did help out in finishing off the bottle (in fact I probably drank over half).
So in terms of this wine:
- Colour: Lovely light guava pink
- Nose: Very light strawberry
- Palatte: Light strawberry with a reasonable balance and a bit of acidity
- Overall: I thought it was just ok and nothing special that I wouldn't rush out to buy again. Then again I'm not a big Rose fan. Jane on the other hand (along with our guests) really liked it and would definitely buy again.
Monday, 12 May 2008
Suffice to say I have been having a huge amount of fun taking my camera places, snapping loads and loads and loads (and I MEAN loads and loads and loads) of photos, deleting about a third of them, not deleting at least another third that I really probably should and then loading about a tenth up to Flickr. :) All in the name of learning!
We had a lovely weekend down in Huntly and Hamilton, catching up with my folks and with friends in Hamilton. I snapped this beautiful web-encrusted lime blossom at a friend's place in Pukete.
See my flickr page for more http://www.flickr.com/unplain-Jane
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Jane & I picked this wine up when we over in the Yarra Valley over New Years a couple of years back and it (along with all the other wines we purchased) managed to survive the flight home. We decided to actually put a dozen wine through as normal luggage and risk it and it survived. Yay!
So in terms of this wine:
- Aroma: Lovely Tobacco / Cedar smell
- Taste: Quite fruity, big mouthful, very smooth, short-medium length, medium complexity, well balanced
- Overall: Good but nothing super special. It is however very drinkable on its on or with Venison (as we had tonight) but is not so good with something a bit sweeter (like the kumara (sweet potato) and orange mash I decided to make that was just a bit too orangey. Oops). It is drinking well now, and to me it feels like now is in fact about the right age to drink it.
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Petit Verdot is not a grape variety I am very used to, but I thoroughly recommend it.
This is great to drink now and I expect will be fine for many years to come (Yay!, I have one more in the cellar).
Introducing - Brulee and Truffle. Brulee - sleeping as usual. The current favourite spot is on his sheepskin rug, but give it a week or so and he'll find a new favourite. Truffle, just looking beautiful, which is what he's very very good at.
Sometimes we find it hard to believe they are brothers. They are so very different in personality, temperament, physique (Truffle is very trim), intelligence (Truffle is very smart), agility (Truffle is very acrobatic (poor Brulee), disruptiveness (Brulee (!) is very considerate). But indeed, they are brothers, and they play-fight like brothers (I think Truffle is responsible for the scratch you can see on Brulee's nose here). And we completely dote on them. They are seriously spoilt cats. But they give us a lot of love, a lot of company and a huge amount of pleasure.
Saturday, 26 April 2008
So girls, Uncle Simon is now quite familiar with Postman Pat, the policeman whose name I can never remember and of course the black and white cat!
Monday, 21 April 2008
Had a huge amount of fun, great to catch up with people, although a little scarey with quite so many children running, crawling and generally being everywhere!
So this is really quick for now (it's 1o to midnight and I really ought to be asleep - I was a grumpy toad at work today and promised to made efforts to not be so hideous tomorrow - so sleep is imperative!).
Just a taste of pics to come... (actually this is just a bit of fun!)
Sunday, 6 April 2008
After a very late rising today (made respectable only by the fact that our clocks went back an hour at 2am this morning), we decided a picnic was in order and headed to Rocket Kitchen to purchase a suitable spread. Yeah, I know, lazy way to do a picnic, but really, it was a very late rising!
We headed down to Point Chevalier, picked a suitable spot and indulged in orzo salad with Moroccon Chicken (Simon) and Chicken Mignon (me). Yes, yes, I know, hardly a picnic, but it was outdoors already!
At the perfect moment, who should happen along, but Mr Whippy. After being a little intimidated by the hordes of delighted, screaming children swarming towards the van, Simon took a deep breathe and ventured in to the queue (knowing said children all had to convince their parents to give them money first anyway).
Simon seems to have issues with ice-cream. :) But he got there in the end.
The Fondue was as rich, thick and delicious as it appeared (and deceptively more alcoholic than it appeared!) and the fruit and marshmallows luscious and completely irresistible. Divine and highly recommended! (Oh - needless to say the fruit was locally purchased, not shipped from France!)
Monday, 24 March 2008
I took my early birthday present with me (I think the prevalence of non-cell-phone photos in this entry is sufficient clue to the nature of what it is!) and got decidedly snap happy.
After breakfast we took a leisurely drive (the queues were too long and slow for it to be anything other than leisurely) down to Mission Bay. The incredibly busy Mission Bay at that. And of course, we indulged in the obligatory (in Simon's case - rapidly melting) ice-cream - although we didn't quite have the endurance required to queue at Movenpick.
More on the weekend when I get a bit more time. Right now we're fighting to get twiki working at home. Oh dear. Fighting and losing for now!
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Those Delicious Herbs (and noodles in the background)
The Finished Product
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
Exhibit A - divinely delicious fruits back in season! Wehoo! Passionfruit and Feijoas. I'm truly in heaven!
Exhibit B - plastic cup half filled with water - I made myself the most wonderful salad of coriander, basil, cos, rocket, carrot, spring onion, brocolli sprouts, cherry tomatoes, shredded chicken and dressed with fish sauce, lime juice, chilli and wine vinegar for lunch at work today. Unfortunately when I steamed the chicken in the microwave, it superheated (as it is wont to do of course) but I most unskillfully removed the cling-wrap in such a way that I have acquired a very painful, very distracting steam burn on my index and middle fingers on my right hand. The cup of water - for dunking my fingers in when the pain gets beyond bearable. :( I've taken a couple of nurofen+ which I have to say, does seem to be helping.
Exhibit C - mouse - I'm at work. And should be working. But pain and ibuprofen and codeine are making that rather difficult. Blathering about a photograph is so much easier than engaging my brain at this point.
Exhibit D - tiny little square of black plastic in the back left quadrant of the photo - this detached itself from my wonderful noise cancelling headphones the other day. I have no idea how. I took them off my head and said plastic blitty bit fell on my keyboard. It's broken, not just fallen off. Ah well, it was cosmetic only fortunately.
Exhibit E - DVD-R stack - I have the tedious task of creating backup copies of a library of 8 DVDs. Tedium. I've started delegating this task to my team after getting really bored with it. :)
Exhibit F - not pictured! Dear friends have announced the anticipated arrival of their first born! (ok, not until much later in the year, but still anticipated!) I know they're telling people (because they told me yesterday) but I don't know if they're telling 'everyone' so shan't say who for now. But wehoo - and yes my friend, you have indeed mentioned recently that you are going to be a dad soon. :) Congratulations to you both! Simon and I are getting very good at Aunty and Uncle duties btw.
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
I rescued one quote from the bottom of the 24th December which I shall record so I don't lose it. :)
There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys; they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked out the sum for themselves.
And this sort of sums up my view of philosophy, worldview, religion, however you choose to see it. Personally, I'm the sort of person who needs to work the sum out for myself. And it's not a simple sum, it is my life's work to explore and better understand it (note I don't say solve!)
Thursday, 24 January 2008
WARNING: this is Mum's catering menu and feeds an army. Seriously! We're going to be eating bean salad for weeks!
1 Cup diced celery
1 Green or red pepper
Plenty of finely Chopped parsley
Sauce1½ Cups Vinegar
2 Cups Sugar
2 tsp Salt
When cool add everything bar sauce ingredients.
Boil together Vinegar, Sugar, Water & Salt.
When cool pour over beans, mix well & chill 24hrs before serving.
Add Black Pepper
Friday, 18 January 2008
If you can guess what I ordered that saw the above being delivered to me (and Simon, yes, there were 2 of these) in the South of France, I'll buy you a kiwi-version of one if you live near me! First correct entry only! (and not for my workmates who I've already had this conversation with!) And by the way, I also have the receipt to prove that what I ordered is indeed what I got, and not something else due to my appalling French skills!
The one thing I have really really missed food-wise while we've been away has been coriander. And on catching up with all of the blogs I try to read, I stumbled on Wino Sapien's Mango Salsa. Before we left I'd been making a huge variety of salsas, with a different one every couple of nights, but mangos had not quite been of a palatable price at that stage! However they're now not too bad - so I picked up a couple of mangos, some coriander (yay!) and chillis - they didn't have any that looked hot enough, so I upgraded to one of these (and no I didn't use a whole one! in fact I only used about 10% of it, and yes, it certainly threw quite a punch!).
I also bought an avocado and 2 nights later this was delectably ready, so I concocted a huge bowl of mango and avocado salsa (a slight variation on the one above - I ran out of lemons so used white wine vinegar, oh, and of course I added a chopped avocado) which I planned to serve with a bbq-ed rack of lamb. Sadly however our fridge seems to have been underperforming and just as we were ready to slap the lamb on the barbie, we both took a whiff of it, noted it's slightly green-hue and promptly trashed it and desperately tried to find something else to throw on the hot bbq! No luck there sadly.
Plan C - 2 nights worth of mango and avocado salsa became the mainstay of the meal, accompanied by a can of rather bland salmon - but the chilli needed something bland. :) And potatoes which of course had been prepared in readiness for the lamb! A slightly odd meal perhaps, but the salsa was devine. Albeit a rather firey kind of devine. :)
(once again - apologies for Cell Phone photographs).
Monday, 7 January 2008
Wandering through the village itself was lovely - coming up on the market was something else again. The array of produce, even lettuces alone, in such variety, and all so inticingly lush. Mmm. I marvelled at the quantity and quality and longed for similarly jam-packed markets at home. Perhaps I need to start growing some things myself. We certainly have the space for it.
We tasted and purchased some quite devine sheeps milk cheese - not to be kept in the fridge, but on a shelf, wrapped in a damp cloth! Very very very tasty. :) We polished off most the $28 (yes, 14 euro) last night with a delciously fresh baguette - ooh incidently, when asked if you want the baguette cut or not, this apparently does not mean sliced, just cut in half. :-) So much to learn.
The pears also charmed us with their delciousness and we wandered out of the market towards the old city munching crunchy fresh pears. Fabulous.
With the walk as always punctuated by the urgent exclamation 'shit' in warning of piles of steaming dog-do on the footpath, we continued the hike (and yes I do mean hike) up to La Cite. The river was very pretty, although once again, very much shrouded in mist.
Eventually we got a view of the city, and continued to climb. I can see why the chose the spot they did to build it - very much a commanding spot. The Lonely Planet had made comment that the city loses it's mystery and charm once you enter the gates, but I have to disagree. The cobbled streets and ancient buildings were fantastic, with the roadways meandering with no apparent purpose or direction leaving you to discover new and unexpected sights around each corner. Ok, admittedly the vast majority of shops were either tacky souvenir places (but only on the main road on they way up to the castle) or eateries - which we were later suprised to be turned away from 2 of due to being fully booked! I suspect however that it would be a far less pleasant place to be in summer when crowded with visitors. Even yesterday there were a fair few people up there, however we arrived early enough in the day for it to be reasonably peaceful. Simon explored through the castle while I kept the pidgeons company in a little park, so I'll leave it to him to extrapolate on that if he sees fit.
We probably took a good 45 minutes to find somewhere to have lunch that actually had a free table. Finding somewhere that had cassoulet on the menu proved to not be a problem at all - every restaurant in Carcassone seems to do cassoulet.
So yes, we had cassoulet for lunch. Delicious! Although I'm sure we had a weeks worth of fat in that one meal! I thought I'd heard a rumour that duck fat wasn't too bad for you, but I seriously doubt that. But yes, we are pleased to have finally found and eaten a cassoulet. Creamy and rich, smooth and delicious to the last bite. Yum!
Saturday, 5 January 2008
For dinner we had a sit down 3 course meal with the family and their partners that was very formal compared to how it normally is in New Zealand. We had some magnificent french wines and Proscecco for a sparkling. In addition we had some great homemade eggnog, apple juice and punsch. Later in the evening (actually very early the next morning), some glorious sounds floated from the grand piano which had pride of place in the lounge instead of a tv.
It was quite nice to look out the window and see the trees covered in white (it hadn't snowed recently, it was just very cold), wild deer in the fields, and a serenity all round.
The following day we were taken around Landshut, a beautiful medieval village, and it was great to be shown it by locals who could tell you so much about what you were seeing. Also, whenever they came across anybody they knew in the street, the greeting was always very formal with the friendly hug as also seen in other parts of Europe and we were introduced. Yet another great experience!