Tofu Tuesday: King size bed

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Tofu has been sleeping on our bed lately.

He comes into our room sometime between midnight and dawn, long after we’ve gone to bed. I guess that is when the temperature drops. He sleeps on top of our blankets, snuggled between our feet.

In the morning, he can be found perfectly positioned on that patch of blanket directly on top of a hot water bottle, enjoying the residual heat through 2 layers of blanket. He dozes there for hours while I get up, work out, shower, dress, pack my lunch, check what’s new with the internet etc. He usually hops off the bed (in search for food) by the time I leave for work. Life is pretty sweet.

In winter, if a rabbit has the choice, he would choose to snuggle with a hot water bottle and/or between his humans.

It makes me wonder how pet rabbits who live their entire lives in outdoor hutches can survive even our mild Auckland winters? It doesn’t snow in Auckland, but it can get close to 0°C at night yet house rabbits are relatively uncommon. Yes, bunnies adapt but is that how cold they want to be? Bunnies in the wild live in burrows with narrow entrances that keep warmth in. Most hutches have no insulation and have gaps or netting which do not keep wind out or warmth in. If you have an outdoor bunny, please consider bringing him or her inside over winter.

 

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Monday Bunday: Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale

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I’m quite fond of the branding for Shiner’s Wild Hare Pale Ale. The copy was clearly written by advanced lagomorph experts.

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Lepus texianus hopus aleicus

STYLE: Classic American Pale Ale  ABV: 5.5%  IBU: 32

A mature individual stands 9.5 inches tall and weighs 12.0001 ounces. Renowned for its assertive temperament and hoppy characteristics. It has a distinguished heritage, being the product of high alpha Bravo and U.S. Golding hops, as well as two-row barley malt with a blend of Munich and caramel malts. Note the Wild Hare’s handsome red pelt and distinctive neck band, which helps distinguish it from others out in the wild. The beer enthusiast is its only known predator.

More info on their website here: www.shiner.com/beer/wild-hare

 

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Dinner and a Movie: NZIFF Food Matches

The New Zealand International Film Festival is currently on in Auckland. Next week it will start in Wellington and Christchurch will follow that. The Koala and I LOVE watching movies. Like, love it to bits. We have varied tastes in what we look for in a movie but we can usually both recognise a good movie, even if it’s not our favourite genre. I like anything thought provoking or whimsical and The Koala likes anything with action. We both enjoy thrillers and scares.

Recently, we invited a group of friends to watch the cult classic Tampopo. It is a 1985 Japanese film about a woman, her ramen (noodle) shop and her search to make the perfect bowl of ramen. A foodie action comedy with some very innocent characters who contrast with some freaky food erotica. Naturally, we followed the movie by feasting at our local ramen shop. Sorry, we didn’t partake in food erotica.

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That pairing may have been obvious, but I like to pair food with activities. It’s like wearing shoes that match your bag. A little bit fancy.

I thought it might be fitting to post my top NZIFF picks with a food match and restaurant for those who do the whole “dinner and movie” thing (or if you prefer, “movie and dinner”). Please note, these movies are not specifically food movies.

Here are my top 5 film picks and matching foods:

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The Double

By director and actor Richard Ayoade famous for awkward indie teen romance: Submarine and acting in the comedy series: The IT Crowd.

An intriguing thriller about a shy, awkward clerk who meets his doppelganger who is charismatic and good with the ladies.

Food match: Double cheeseburgers
Recommended restaurant: Better Burger

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Congress

By director Ari Folman famous for epic animated doco: Waltz with Bashir.

Hollywood actress gets pulled into the future: a surreal, rainbow world of animation, colour, drugs, happiness and suffering. Trippy stuff. Thought-provoking and unique.

Food match: Rainbow delights
Recommended restaurant: Milse

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The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Documentary on Hayao Miyazaki and his animation studio, Studio Ghibli. Enter the world of the animation genius.

Hayao Miyazaki’s films are well known for their extravagant food scenes and he is a fan of noodles. Any Japanese would have worked here but since it is winter and since Hayao once cooked up a big ramen dinner for his animation studio workers, It’s got to be…

Food match: Ramen
Recommended restaurant: Ramen Do

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Snowpiercer

By director Bong Joon-ho famous for Korean monster movie: The Host.

In the not too distant future, the world is reduced to the inhabitants of a giant train that loops around the globe. This is the story of the revolution of the train’s class system. There are a few foodie scenes for those that are looking for them as the poor eat anything to survive and the elite eat very well. Highlight of the movie: Chris Evan’s beard.

Food match: Sushi train
Recommended restaurant: Sushi Factory

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The Young and Prodigious T.S Spivet

By director Jean-Pierre Jeunet famous for cult classics: Amelie and Delicatessen.

A ten-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family’s ranch in Montana and travels aboard a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Whimsical and feel good.

Food match: All American Redneck Ribs
Recommended restaurant: Lone Star

NZIFF Auckland is running until the 5th August 2014.

Are you looking forward to any of these movies? Have you seen any of the already?

Do you ever pair movies with a matching restaurant or is it just me?

 

Getting back on track menu

Results

I had a blood test on Saturday and the results weren’t so flash. I hadn’t been feeling quite normal lately and I should have guessed that I was back to being hyperthyroidic.

My last few blood tests had been great so this setback feels like a slap in the face. The pendulum swings both ways, so let’s hope it swings back in my favour with adjusted meds and diet.

I haven’t done a menu plan for a few weeks and as a result, maybe I’ve been slacking off on my self-imposed diet. There is controversy about diet and auto-immune diseases. My endocrinologist (frustratingly) says diet has no influence on my condition. But I think eating better makes sense and surely it cannot hurt. I guess being able to control at least one aspect of my life helps.

Diet

I’m going mostly gluten-free and eating lots of whole foods. Proteins, vegetables, dairy are up. More juicing. Minimal alcohol and refined sugar.

I’ll allow myself 1 glass of wine per week (medicinal purposes) and use honey in my hot drinks. I’m going to invest in a second jar of honey so I can stick to this plan in the office as well as at home. No more coffee for a while. I dislike reading about other people’s restricted diets but hopefully my diet isn’t so restrictive you cannot relate.

Eats

We have a bunch of wintery produce delivered from The Honesty Box this week and my version of a restricted diet using up the produce looks pretty good on paper (or chalkboard).

Here’s a rough guide to what I plan on cooking this week (most of which will end up being leftovers for lunch the next day)…

menu

I think The Koala will be pleased with this dinner menu as some of his favourites feature here.

Can you guess which ones they are?

Tofu Tuesday: Good Side

Photo taken from Tofu’s “good side”.

I keep apologising for the way that Tofu looks at the moment. Our neighbours who share our back yard were happy to see Tofu in the garden again and went down to greet him. I couldn’t help but pipe up a warning. I’m used to the way he looks now but his other side can be a shock if you’re not expecting half a shaved head and stitches in place of an eye.

I still think he is the handsomest bunny.

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And he is king of the house once more. Yesterday he spent all morning on the couch (which was covered in a big puffy blanket). I arranged snacks around him so he wouldn’t have to leave his warm nest for food. I believe the term is morph* whipped.

Click here to see more of Tofu the blind, eyed rabbit.

* Lagomorph is to bunnies what felines is to cats.

 

Monday Bunday: Mark Hearld’s Harvest Hare

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Check out this linocut design by artist Mark Hearld for St Jude.

The design is called “Harvest Hare” and the wallpaper is printed in the UK using water-based inks and paper from sustained forests. Available in blue slate, corn and chalk white. Also available in other colours as cushion covers and fabric.

More info on Mark Hearld’s printmaking here: www.stjudesfabrics.co.uk/collections/mark-hearld

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Our Growing Edge July Intro

 

 

 

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Phuong of My Kitchen of Love who is currently in Vietnam has just posted the round up for June’s edition of Our Growing Edge. Check out the sumptuous 13 item feast here.

 

July’s edition is being hosted by Ash from Organic Ash.

 

Our Growing Edge is the part of us that is still learning and experimenting. It’s the part that you regularly grow and improve, be it from real passion or a conscious effort. This monthly event aims to connect and inspire us to try new things and to compile a monthly snapshot of what food bloggers are getting up to.

If you have a blog and are trying something new with food this month, come and join us!

Tofu Tuesday: Off meds, weight up

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We went back to the vet for a re-visit on Saturday. Tofu has gained a whopping 100 grams in just one week so we are pleased he is eating normally and gaining weight. If he keeps this weight on it will be good. Tofu is now off all his meds so this is great news for his post-operative healing.

Tofu has jumped onto our bed once since surgery and come begging for food in the kitchen a couple of times. He also jumped onto the couch last week and again last night for snuggles. I wish you could see him jump up onto the couch. Being completely blind, he gives it everything he’s got, sailing above the couch (and above me), but landing softly on the blankets on the couch.

We’re not at the stage where he’s spending all day free range outside (with weather and fencing issues) but he can have some supervised time in the yard. The Koala hopes to let Tofu be roam free again, but I’m not quite comfortable with that yet so yesterday after work, I gave Tofu half an hour in the yard as it got dark. Darkness doesn’t bother Tofu, but I want to be able to stop him in case he goes ferreting under the house or tries to make an escape.

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Monday Bunday: Ragbit

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Ragbit is an Indonesian clothing label with designs by Riayu Putri Narindra from Bandung, Indonesia.

I like the juxtaposition of old style illustration with contemporary geometric fonts and shapes.

You can see this project and others on Riayu’s Behance page here: www.behance.net/riayuputri 

Please do, she has some great food related designs.

Auckland Restaurant Month 2014 – top picks

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August is Auckland Restaurant Month and the menus for the 100 participating restaurants have been posted already. I know it’s a whole month away, but a month is good time to make dates with friends and tick off a few restaurants on the way.

There are some fabulous specials and this is a great way to try out some of Auckland’s best restaurants on a range of budgets.

It was hard (and hungry) work, but I’ve picked out 10 of my favourite specials which  range from $25 to $100 per person.

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Auckland Restaurant Month top 10 picks:

(In order of budget)

1. Fukuko

Britomart, Cocktail bar
$25 for 2 snack courses and a shochu cocktail of your choice.
Includes a steamed pork bun and 2 tacos (your choice of braised miso short rib, sticky pulled pork, spiced roast duck, sole tempura).
www.fukuko.co.nz

 

2. Besos Latinos

Elliot Stables, Latin American gourmet
$25 for cornchips, your choice of taco and a classic margarita.
Taco options: Pork, beef, chicken, vegetarian or fish.
www.besoslatinos.com

 

3. Kushi

Durham St West, Japanese bento
$25 dinner set with entree, main, tempura, rice and fruit.
Options include: Teriyaki chicken, Spicy Chicken, Butterfly prawn, Fish katsu, Spicy salmon, Crispy tofu.
www.kushi.co.nz

 

4. Faro

Lorne Street, Korean BBQ
$40 for 2 course dinner including wine
Includes: Faro salad, charcoal BBQ, 7 korean side dishes, glass of wine.
Choice of meats: Beef short rib, scotch fillet, pork scotch fillet, marinated boneless chicken, salted tiger prawns.
www.faro.co.nz

 

5. The Grove

Wyndham Street, Fine dining
$55 for 5 courses
Choose 5 courses from a changing 10 options. Menu unavailable.
www.thegroverestaurant.co.nz

 

6. Masu

Sky City, Japanese Robata, 2014 Metro Restaurant of the Year
$55 for 3 courses, Available daily between 5.30pm and 6.30pm
Includes: Spicy tuna, jalapeno tempura roll and Sesame elderflower pannacotta, mandarin, milk sake sorbet.
Choice of: Baby back pork ribs or Gurnard fillet.
www.skycityauckland.co.nz/restaurants/masu/

 

7. Cafe Hanoi

Britomart, Vietnamese street food inspired by Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
$55 per person for an 8 course shared meal
Courses include pho bo (traditional beef noodle soup), braised pork and shrimp summer rolls, seared fish with rice noodles, dried beef and papaya salad, shaking beef, minced beef wraps, Hanoi-style grilled pork and a traditional Vietnamese dessert of sesame dumplings.
Available for groups of 3 or more.
www.cafehanoi.co.nz

 

8. Ostro and City Terrace

Britomart, International-style brasserie
$65 for a 3 course dinner
Appetisers: Fisherman’s soup, Butternut squash ravioli, Squid ink risotto.
Mains: Steamed snapper, Roast Canterbury lamb rump, Pork chop.
Dessert: Creme brûlée, Violet chocolate fondant, Bombe Alaska.
http://britomart.org/ostro

 

9. Everybody’s

Queen Street, European bar and eatery (formally Japanese)
$79 for 4 courses including matching wines
Specialty dishes selected by the chef. Menu unavailable.
Minimum 2 people.
www.everybodys.co.nz

 

10. Clooney

Sale Street, Fine Dining
$100 for a 7 course meal (for groups of 4 only)

  • Alpine salmon, pumpkin seed emulsion, charcoal
  • House baked bread with whipped brown butter
  • Yellowtail kingfish, kombu, diamond clam, rice, cilantro
  • Sea scallop, smoked eel, broccoli, fermented garlic
  • Flash cured venison, bergamot, cabbage, morcilla, tendon
  • Short rib of beef, barbecue, sun choke, onion, walnut
  • Mandarin and butternut

www.clooney.co.nz

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For information on Auckland Restaurant Month, visit the event website here: www.heartofthecity.co.nz/restaurant-month

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**All image from the Auckland Restaurant Month website.

Tofu Tuesday: The grass beneath his paws

Thank you for your wishes, Tofu is doing as well after surgery. Today was his final dose of pain meds though he still has another week of antibiotics to go.

For the first 2 days after surgery, Tofu stayed in his area of the house, dozing and eating, eating and dozing. He wasn’t eating a lot at the start but his appetite gets stronger each day.

Over the last couple of days he did a few extra things that showed he was starting to feel better:

  • He started hanging out in the lounge with us again
  • He jumped up onto the couch for snuggles
  • He enjoyed some time in the backyard
  • He came into the kitchen (at the other end of the house) to beg for treats

Tofu hates medicine time and gets feisty as hell but forgives us soon after. The Koala and I are just glad we don’t have to do any more injections. The medicine was thick so the needle was fat. I realised I have had heaps of needles in me, but never poked a needle into anyone else. My inexperience showed. The bunny was not impressed. We did 1 injection on the first day which went terribly but were able to switch to meds by mouth the very next dose. Meds by mouth is a better time for all of us.

Tofu is still looking a bit scary with stitches and half the fur on his face is shaved. But we’re getting used to it and the fur will grow back soon enough.

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When Tofu went outside for the first time after surgery, he spent the whole time sitting in a planter. I think he liked the feeling of the grass beneath his paws.

Monday Bunday: Petite Bunny Gloss Bar

I bought one of these cute Petite Bunny Gloss Bars by TONYMOLY a while ago because of the adorable packaging.

Turns out I really liked the product as well. The colours are cute and subtle and each comes with a delicious flavour.

I got the winking one but there is something very alluring about the angry one on the end.

You can get them for around $10US from many online retailers.

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Tofu Tuesday: Bye Bye Left Eye

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Yesterday Tofu had his left eye removed.

On Friday evening, I noticed Tofu’s left eye was sealed shut. I freaked out and called the vet immediately and we spent a big chunk of Saturday on standby at the vet clinic.

Problems with rabbits escalate very quickly so if you have a pet rabbit and you have any concerns, do not hesitate to see your vet. The clinic was really busy with a bunch of emergencies, but we were also considered urgent by the vet and able to get a diagnosis.

Tofu had a corneal ulcer which became severely infected within 24 hours. He probably scratched it or a piece of hay may have poked him in the eye. He already had cataracts in both eyes, so sight wasn’t an issue, but infection is bad news. We were given antibiotics and a follow up visit for Monday.

He was super hungry over the weekend and got plenty of snuggles. It was traumatic having force open his red, pus-ridden eye four times a day to administer Chlorsig drops and ointment for infection. He didn’t like us to go near his eye and put up a little fight each time. Poor thing.

The drops didn’t help the infection and yesterday it was decided the best thing to do was to remove the eye. Usually they would try and save the eye but since Tofu is already blind, removing the eye is the best thing for him.

This was Tofu’s second surgery (he had a bladder stone removed 4 months ago), but it seems this little dude is a fighter.

On the bright side, Tofu’s x-ray showed an all clear for his bladder troubles. No bladder sludge, no bladder stones. All clear!

I spoke with the vet clinic yesterday afternoon and they said the surgery went perfectly and Tofu was doing well. I’m sure he can’t wait to come home and we will miss him tonight. I will be picking up from the vet clinic tomorrow morning.

Please keep the little fluff ball in your thoughts today.

 

 

Monday Bunday: Rabbits Love Scarves

Rabbits Love Scarfs by Donna McKenzie

Rabbits Love Scarfs by Donna McKenzie

This very sweet scarf-wearing rabbit illustration is by Donna McKenzie.

She sells her prints on Etsy and you can see this image and more on her website: www.donnamckenzieillustration.com

I love how suddenly regal or gentlemanly this rabbit looks. I’ve been wearing a scarf most days, I hope I look this fancy. Tofu the bunny doesn’t wear a scarf, he has a nice fluffy dewlap the doubles as a scarf.

Hope you are keeping warm this winter!

The winter solstice happened upon us over the weekend and I’m very much looking forward to longer days. Walking to work in the dark feels so wrong.

Banana for scale

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The Honesty Box has been feeding us each week and while I haven’t been keeping up with my documenting of each box due to the crappy evening light, I had to just quickly show you this glorious mushroom that was delivered in yesterday’s box.

This monster is a whopping 16cm wide (over 6 inches).

I don’t know what I’m going to do with it but I’m adamant that I want to serve it whole because it feels like a shame to slice it up.

We actually have 2 mushrooms so The Koala and I can have one each.

What would you do with it?