All posts filed under: Things I’ve seen

Off The Grid

Without sounding spoilt, The Koala and I love to have long holiday outside of New Zealand once a year. But over the last few years, we have not left New Zealand, instead we have taken small holidays within New Zealand. I still yearn for foreign lands for new perspective and culinary delights, but there are world-class destinations within an hour from home. This is a story about one of them. Hidden in the remote hills behind Waiuku on the southernmost west tip of Auckland, is a secluded glamping gem. For the uninitiated, glamping is short for glamorous camping. Will and Kate (of the royal variety) went glamping in Uluru, Australia this week, so I think it is fair to say that glamping has reached the mainstream. The Koala and I stayed at Castaway’s glamping last Friday to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. Expensive for camping, inexpensive for luxury, glamping is a careful balance. Our stay was paid for in full with real cash so this is an honest review, not an advertisement. Saying that, I must warn you I …

The ice cream cone

He cowered in the corridor doorway. Away from the other children who were finishing their lunches. Some of us had already finished and were returning our lunchboxes to our schoolbags. When we spotted him, we stopped in our tracks. Sheepishly eating the last of an ice cream cone, he realised his mistake. “Where did you get that ice cream from!?” we all demanded. Ice cream for lunch is a prize in every child’s eyes. The poor boy, embarrassed that he had been discovered, admitted: “I didn’t have an ice cream. I just had a cone for lunch”. The kids are hungry Schools in New Zealand are ranked in socio-economic order from 1 to 10 so that funding can be allocated. 10 is the highest,  1 is the lowest and each decile contains a tenth of the schools in NZ. From ages 5 to 9, I attended a decile 3 primary (elementary) school and poverty was all around. Many children only dreamed of lunch. My sister and I were lucky and – though scrawny – always well fed. There …

Eat Well. Travel Often.

This poster by designer Ian Coyle speaks to me. When I was 9 months old, my parents and I flew from Hong Kong to New Zealand. They moved to country they had never been to before with an infant. I can’t say I’d have the courage to do that. In the years since, we were lucky enough to travel back to Hong Kong fairly often. Usually we would travel with stopovers in other countries. I’ve been spoilt. I find inspiration in travel. In both food and in design and in life. Travel gives perspective and nourishes in so many ways. I’d sooner blow all my cash on travel than save for a house. Being a homeowner is so overrated. I hear so many stories of people who plan to travel in their retirement. Only they die young or are not physically enough when the time arrives. Which is why Gunther Holtorf’s story is so touching. Gunther Holtorf is a 74 year old German man, who, in 1989, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, packed …

Now with more sodium! Sweet Jesus!

This is an oldie but a goodie. It’s sick and twisted but it makes me infinitely happy. Big spoons, bananas, rabbits, nipples, fish sticks… now with more sodium! Sweet Jesus! What more could a girl want? Don Hertzfeldt, what are you doing these days? 5.5 million views via YouTube. Have you viewed this lately? I think it stands the test of time. p.s. Watching this animation may make you feel fat and sassy.

A Week in Foodie TV

I haven’t been watching much TV lately, but a quick nosey shows that there are some foodie things to watch on “free to air” TV in New Zealand at the moment. A week in foodie TV Monday The Chef’s Apprentice, 6.30pm on Prime The Naked Chef, 7.30pm on Prime The Supersizers Go…, 8.30pm on Prime Tuesday The Chef’s Apprentice, 6.30pm on Prime Donna Hay: Fast, Fresh, Simple, 7.30pm on Prime Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen, 8.00pm on Prime Rick Stein’s Christmas, 8.35pm on Prime Wednesday The Chef’s Apprentice, 6.30pm on Prime Thursday Kitchen Nightmares, 9.30pm on 2 Saturday Harvest, 4.30pm on Prime Food Culture, 5.00pm on Prime Jamie’s Best Ever Christmas, 7.30pm on Prime Economy Gastronomy, 7.30pm on Prime Sunday Celebrity Masterchef, 3.30pm on Prime There’s nothing currently on Friday (making it a good “go out” night) and Tuesday is a foodie marathon over on Prime. I love watching food on TV. I find it comforting, voyeuristic and inspiring. We don’t have Sky, mostly because I feel like paying for TV would make me feel like I …

Lyttelton Farmers’ Market is pumping

Last Saturday we visited Lyttelton Farmers’ Market and it was pumping. Good to see. People still want to eat (and eat well) post quake. The aftershocks haven’t stopped, but life must go on. There were bunches of sweet little daffodils for $1 each, music, yummy ready to eat foods, fresh fish and lots of ingredients for the home cook. Many of Lyttelton’s buildings are gone but it’s great to see that the businesses live on. Ground Culinary Centre that was on London Street was a pile of debris when we visited at Easter and is now a tidy but empty lot. Ground are are still making yummy deli style salads. We bought a yummy feijoa and ginger jam by Peninsula Preserves to take back to Auckland with us. Hopefully the Markets are keeping business afloat until they can open up somewhere else.

A Talisman

I have an unexplained obsession. My heart does flip flops. If it’s a bright colour, it makes me happy – like the world is giving me a big cheesy smile. When I see one, I feel like it as a good luck omen. It appeared from nowhere. This week, every morning and every evening, this bright yellow speciman greets me on my walk to and from work. Isn’t she lovely? I don’t drive, but I would love to have a Morris Minor. Bright red preferably. Do you have any random symbol that makes you happy like this?

Bangkok: Eating fish, eaten by fish and 20kg of shopping

Our epic South East Asia adventure came to an end with 2 nights in Bangkok before flying home to New Zealand. Bangkok is a great place to end a holiday as you can load up to the gills with shopping before hopping on a plane. We did the typical tourist sights in Bangkok on a previous stopover so we didn’t want to do any more. I estimate we gained 20kg in shopping in 2 days. Last time we were in Bangkok, our 2 day stopover resulted in 13kg of shopping. If you measure by weight, we are definitely getting better at shopping. Our 2 days of epic shopping in Bangkok put us up to 39.9kg. We were allowed up to 40kg in checked luggage so pretty close! Eating fish This steamed fish dish was barely cooked and would have tasted amazing if only it didn’t have about 10 times more chili than I could handle. I scraped off all the chili, ate it with all of the teddy bear shaped rice and still needed lots …

Buddha lives in Chalok Bay, Koh Tao

KOH TAO, THAILAND. Koh Tao is a couple hours ferry ride and a world away from Koh Samui. Peaceful sheltered bays, great diving and snorkeling. We relaxed for a 4 days before Koh Phangan. I can see why Buddha lives in Chalok Bay. It’s sheltered and calm and very peaceful. We saw the rock Buddha admiring the view. He sits facing out to sea. A round head, a gently sloping chest and a big round belly. Do you see? There were a few restaurants on the beach. This one was our favourite but I can’t remember it’s name or if it even had one. It was across the road from Koppee Bakery. It was never very busy, but it we just perfect. We had triangle cushions, deck, shade, great food and plenty of drinks on this deck. The sunset from near the rock Buddha. Back to the sunset, looking back across Koh Tao. Koh Tao Tips Hire a scooter. It’s cheap and totally worth it. The island is small, but there are lots of steep …