Monday, May 27, 2013

FoodBox - FoodCreation 1

I am sure by now you've seen my Facebook posts proclaiming the wonderfulness of the local food co-op that started here in Christchurch a few weeks back. 
If you missed it, i can summarize. For $20 I've received all of the pic pictured items, delivered to my door. check their website
Tonight, I complied my first meal from this box (actually, a beautiful jute bag) of food. Four days post delivery; the meal turned out fantastically.  I would actually refer to this meal as happiness in a bowl.  Even my beet hater, Forrest, 'they taste like dirt!', loved the soup!
I followed this recipe, borscht, pretty much exactly. additions were: three cloves of garlic (from the delivery) with the onions and a few sprinkles of dried dill throughout the cooking time.  Top tip: wear black clothing when match sticking the beets and some latex gloves, otherwise you and your kitchen will resemble a murder mystery sitcom.
Now, if you study my photos closely, you will likely see that my match sticking is not quite at professional level (my sister the chef won't be too impressed, sorry E!)... nor is my cabbage shredding. and I'm fairly certain that the Russians would not refer to this soup as borscht, but it matters not, the soup was absolutely divine. Beautiful sweet and earthy flavour. Even better, easy enough to prepare post-work.

March - April - May

 March, April and May... Where did you disappear to? And also, sadly, our summer is also gone. Here are some of the highlights of the last three months (complied whilst listening to the freezing rain hit the roof).

We had the pleasure of three lovely visitors in March. Making the best use of time we all hiked the Milford Track together aka 'The Finest Walk in the World'. It was lovely indeed, not sure it was the finest, but it was damn beautiful. We swam everyday because it was too hot and we didn't have a drop of rain the entire time.

Our visitors were really amazing, truly. A big thanks to Anthony, Tom and Christina for a beautiful visit.
Late March a few friends and I went to Hanmer Springs to celebrate an upcoming wedding. I can't share too many photos of the festivities, but an excellent time was had by all.

We had two public holidays in April, Easter and ANZAC Day.  Since having a busy time with guests and whatnot we decided to take a quiet Easter at home.  The weather was stunning and  I was quite happy to be staying in and relaxing.  We took a ride on the newly opened Christchurch Gondola, got an amazing amount of flowers for $15 and took a hike in the TOO HOT weather and picked apples on the way home (Forrest's first time).

 All of these apples cost $10. That's two heaping grocery bags full! amazing! So with the apples i made applesauce, apple butter (in the crockpot!), spicy apple chutney, a few apple pies and a few apple cakes. and i didn't use all of the apples. I even gave a few dozen away. $10 well spent.

The second holiday of the month, ANZAC Day, we went to the local memorial service and left for a hike in nearby Kaikoura (2.5 hour drive north) the next day. We hiked up Mt. Fyffe, a 1,602 meter (5,260-ish ft) mountain, and camped outside of the hut. It was a VERY steep track but offered beautiful views of the Kaikoura Peninsula.

The next weekend we held our annual Cinco de Mayo Party. We had a few less guests than last year, and less dress up participation, but had fun anyway.

A few weekends ago we traveled with some friends to Mt. Cook National Park to hike up to Mueller Hut (1,800 meters, 5,900-ish ft). The weather was absolutely stunning, perfect amazing conditions. Forrest was so inspired about this particular trip that he even started writing in his blog again! Check out his entry on the hike. (note: i almost said 'epic hike', but due to my severe dislike of the word 'epic', i refrained.)
We couldn't walk much after this hike, for an entire week.

So i was more than happy to take this last weekend as a foodie weekend.Put aside the hiking boots for a few days and put on the fashion boots.

We traveled down to Invercargil to the Bluff Oyster Festival.  Some 4,000 people attended a festival whose town normally boasts 1,800.  The Bluff oysters a large, juicy, briny goodness, slurped down with just a squeeze of lemon. I think we ate about three dozen all together. yum.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last Day of Summer*

*"it's not really the last day of summer!!!" - Forrest
however, officially, 1 March is the first day of Autumn, in New Zealand, no matter what the orbit of the Earth tells everyone else in the world....... never mind.

Let's us do a Summer Recap! Considering I have been FaceBook Free for February (and maybe Forever) and I haven't updated the blog in two months !

Christmas was fun and we had spectacular weather, which is really the best thing to ask for in a Kiwi Summer. We loved Stuart Island and enjoyed feeling like we were flying into Jurassic Park upon landing in Mason's Bay. We saw Kiwi Birds near Freshwater Hut (refer to previous blog post). The Kiwi Birds were amazing! as big as chickens with huge beaks (and Forrest likes to say, Huge Talons and Claws!). After Stewart Island we traveled to the Catlins, which is basically southeast Southland, or if you are looking at a map of New Zealand, the southern part of the South Island. Again, the Weather was AMAZING. After the Catlins we went to Wanaka and hiked to the Rob Roy glacier. Then traveled to do some mountain biking on the Central Otago Rail Trail. We camped most nights, Forrest caving in to a hotel on 2 occasions, one time because there was snow on the ground.

A few weeks after Christmas break we went to Melbourne! It was amazing! We were lucky enough to get tickets to the Women's Semi-Final Tennis match in the Australian Cup and we also saw the Cirque du Soeli show 'Ovo", also fantastic! It was Forrest's first encounter with Cirque so I was happy he enjoyed it. We  basically followed Anthony Bourdain's food recommendations...cleverly outlined on this blog post. Using a local travel guide also helped, check out Unanchor for your next trip.

This month we have enjoyed Waitaingi Day and visitors beginning 8 February through 19 March. Gina and Isaac have come and gone and Anthony is currently here. Tom and Christina arrive in three days and we're very excited to be hosting so many lovely faces!

So if we have been a bit out of touch, it was for good reason :) Now, onward to the Autumn* season, or as Forrest like to call it, "still Summer".