Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Lunch for One: Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

Dad insightfully commented the other day that my cooking is either incredibly decadent, or very healthy - switching from one extreme to the next. He was right. Not only do I love rich desserts and adore eating baked goods fresh from the oven; my love affair with food has gone on long enough for me to realize that 'good', healthy food can be just as tasty and satisfying.

So today - spurred partly by guilt for being a little indulgent this past week - I made myself a hearty, filling bowl of slow-roasted veggies tossed together with that so-hot-right-now superfood otherwise known as quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). Not only that, I partly invented the recipe. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Psychogeography and Peanut Chicken San Choy Bau

In the last issue of the lovely Frankie Magazine, Eleanor Robertson pondered the art of wandering through your own urban habitat. She writes, 'Psychogeography is best described as bushwalking in cities. Bushwalking is satisfying because nature is beautiful, and with attention and some luck you can experience cool things happening… The same is true for cities, with buildings and architecture creating the landscape, and people creating the interest and drama'.In a time where no one has enough of it, she recognizes the importance of taking the leisure of appreciating urban space by just being there, as opposed to just passing through.

So yesterday, as the First Official Monday of the School Holidays, Mum, Dad and I did just that. We took a trip into the Auckland CBD and experienced it with fresh eyes, made new discoveries. First stop was breakfast, at a bagel-ry named Best Ugly. The topping combinations were nothing new, but just a little outrageous - cold smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, red onion and a little sprig of dill on mine and Mum's poppy seed bagels, a sesame-crusted one topped with hot mustard, pastrami, melted swiss cheese and gherkin for Dad. This was good food, done superbly.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

… Fall Back

I woke this morning to what felt like a miracle… the sound of heavy, cleansing rain. Due to a drier-than-normal November and a practically rainless December, by February pretty much the whole of New Zealand was covered in dead, brown grass, and by mid-March, everyone, especially farmers,were getting pretty desperate. An official drought was declared in some of the worst-affected parts of the country, and compensation given to the farmers concerned, who needed it most. Even our humble little ten acre block was feeling the strain. We had water issues: a mysterious leak in one of our paddock tanks meant that 20 000 liters was almost gone within a few days. Dad had to buy truck-fulls of water to sustain our livestock over the course of a fortnight before he found a crack in one of the water pipes. Our veggie patch stopped growing. Weeds and low-nutrient grasses were sprouting. We had to feed our animals hard feed, things like silage and barley, because there wasn't any good grass. By the end of March though, we had had a few showers, here and there. They weren't very long, or very heavy - but that was ok. It brought me hope. It allowed the ground to soften a bit, before real, good rain comes.

This morning another of those hopeful showers came. It was quite heavy for about half an hour, giving the earth the drink that it so desperately needs, before it dispersed into that crisp autumn sunshine, when the day takes a little longer to warm up than it did just a month or two ago. Autumn is one of my most favorite times of the year. Kind of the underdog The Seasons, it heralds crisper, alert mornings and beautiful sunrises, warm, rich and comforting food, bed socks, tea and anticipation for the coming ski season.