Tag Archives: food

Vancouver Christmas Market

Dashing through the snow (even though there is none yet), in a four door rented car, over the bridge we go, laughing all the way!!! Ha ha haaa! Everybody now!

I am quite excited about heading to the Vancouver Christmas Market tonight, mostly for the German food delights that are to be found there, but also for that crisp wintry feel of visiting a market at night and holding a cup of Gluhwein (a hot, spiced mulled wine). I haven’t actually ever been to a night market in the winter and held a cup of spiced wine but I imagine it’s magical and with all my layers of winter clothes, will be somewhat cosy. And the Christmas lights!!! All of the lights…all of the lights….wooooah ooh woaahhhh… just me? Nah, you were singing along too 🙂

I first heard about the markets from reading THIS BLOG – the girl knows how to find a good time, I’ll tell you that much! I knew I was ending up in Vancouver and it was cool to see that there was something a little bit different to be done around this festive season that wasn’t elbowing your way through crowds to get your last minute Christmas shopping done in packed malls. Blerk!

Ok, mostly it was the German food that got me excited. But again, also the ambiance.

I should really go and get ready. I will try to remember to take my camera with me so you too can see the magical wonder of a Christmas market. You’re welcome in advance. I’ll apologise for the shoddy camera work now and also the potential that there could be no photos or follow up blog on this as well. You could always just read Rachel’s blog and go to the website. Equally as good at portraying that markety goodness.

Don’t be disappointed at my lack of effort; at least I’m letting you know in advance. xx

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Wedding on a budget

I was just flicking through my wedding photos (procrastination FTW) and the photos of the food inspired me to share with you the secrets of my super cheap, but not trashy, wedding. I’ve been asked by a few people how I did it, so here it is…

Small back story: we got married in Canada as I was denied an extension on my work visa and I was madly in love with a Canadian. A week before I was due to leave the country to return back to NZ, we decided the best way to speed up the process of me returning to Canada, would be to get married. Naturally… Crazy? Yes. Dumb? No.

Because it was a quick decision (I planned a wedding in four days – high five!) neither of our families could make it and my friends in New Zealand couldn’t either. Bit of an ask to get people to pay over $2k for flights at short notice 🙂 Due to the snappy turnaround of the nuptials, it was always the plan to have a less hectic, more carefully planned wedding, in New Zealand.

Neither of us had a job that was bringing in super amounts of income, plus we were still catching up on the debt from setting me back up in New Zealand at short notice. And after not working for almost three months, by the time we did have money to burn (or just gently smolder and then pat out and put back in our wallets) there was only about three and a half months until the wedding. As well as that, we’d decided to move back to the North Island (we were in Queenstown) to be closer to my friends and family and to live by the beach. Knowing we might not have jobs for a little while, we needed to plan for that as well, financially. Needless to say, money was leaking into nooks and crannies everywhere we turned.

SO…to save money on the wedding, Scott came up with the idea of a pot luck wedding. At first I was like “no way are we getting our guests to bring the food! That’s one of the best parts of a wedding!” but I slowly warmed to the idea, the more I thought about how much money we actually needed in order to get the dress, the suit, the shoes, the booze, the decorations, the cake, the food, the hair, the make up, the photos….the everything! Since it was already going to be a relaxed beachy wedding, with dressy casual attire and no formal ceremony (as we were technically already married), why not make it even more Kiwi, and turn it into a pot luck?

Most of the peeps I know are quite into food anyway, so I figured they’d enjoy the fact it was something they could get involved in as well.

We saved up enough money for booze (too much booze in the end, not a bad thing!), the dress (not an expensive one, but also not my fave. If I had a do-over, I’d not buy my dress online), the alteration for the dress, decorations, invitations and little bits and pieces that cropped up along the way. All in all, I would say our total spend was just over $2k.

It helped that my Dad took care of the meat which my step-mum roasted at home before carting it to the location and the lady that made the cake/cupcakes said it would be our wedding gift. Both of these people, we offered to pay and they wouldn’t have a bar of it! Bonus.

The photos were taken by my brother in law. Phil, and one of my besties boyfriends. Both of which we said we couldn’t afford to pay but we offered up booze instead. For the most part they were both just happy to help as they appreciated the fact that weddings are expensive and stressful and they are both just bloody good blokes. Will, the besties bf, in particular did a spectacular job and we couldn’t be more thankful for the amazing job he did – he assists for Natalie Morgan Photography and you can learn more about him here.

The following photos are of the food and the cake/cupcakes – all Will’s handy work. Just looking at them still makes my mouth water AND we got so many comments on how amazing the food was compared to some of the catered weddings people had been too. Yay, go team!

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The biggest thing I learned from planning my wedding was that it was OUR day and we could do it whichever way we bloody well liked! And that people are only too happy to pitch and be involved on your special day. You may think that everything has to be perfect, and for the most part it does, but as long as you and your significant other are relaxed and happy, people are fed and watered – regardless of whether they made some of the food, then nothing else matters.

Weekend Getaway – Kiwi Style

Having not seen our friends, who live a few hours drive away, since the wedding back in January, we decided a little get together was in order. I scoured the NZ holiday house websites and we decided upon this little coastal gem: http://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/properties/2076.asp

A weekend was picked and anticipation ensued. The location of the bach was about half way between us and them so neither of us had to drive nausea inducing, windy coastal roads, yay! As well as L&P and jandals, NZ is kind of famous for narrow, coastal road ways.

We set off last Friday afternoon and after a quick coffee/gas stop and then a grocery stop we were there just after sun set. Joss had lit the fire and we quickly caught up on how everyone was, over a beer. Onemana, where the bach was, is quite tiny. Like, really really tiny, and has only a dairy and a small cafe so with rumbling tummies we jumped in the car and headed ten mins down the road to Whangamata for some fush and chups.

The weekend on the whole was relaxing with fairly good weather. The sun was shining both days but there was a fierce wind and finding a sheltered spot was a bit difficult. It died down on Saturday afternoon just as we had grabbed more beer, ready for the Saturday night, and arrived at the local skate park for the boys to have a play around.

I find it so good for the soul to catch up with old friends, chat about all of life’s little goings ons, relax and unwind while imbibing tasty beers and eating a bit too much food. We’re all in our late twenties/early thirties so having too much to drink and going to bed at 3am wasn’t so much on the agenda. Instead we played board games like Pictionary and Balderdash, and laughed a lot. I love the wholesome, shameless fun that comes with being a bit older and not so consumed with getting shit-faced or laid. Though, those things are still fun 😉

One of the things I looked forward to this trip so much for was because I volunteered to cook for everyone. Another way for us to be all brought together and add to the happy memories of the weekend – plus it’s a bit self indulgent for me to be able to do what I love, for the people I love.

The following photos are of the two breakfasts I cooked (I also cooked on Saturday night which was vegetarian nachos and cauliflower mac and cheese – recipe here – but there are no photos).

The vegetarian version of my infamous breakfast stack (it was meant to have hash browns as well, but they were in the freezer – out of sight, out of mind. A bit sad, but not a total loss by any stretch)

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In case you wish to try it at home: corn bread, sauteed spinach with garlic and olive oil, oven roasted mushrooms with herbs, oven roasted tomatoes with salt, pepper and olive oil, haloumi cheese and poached egg. I sometimes add a relish or pesto on the side. This one had pesto which I usually would spread on the corn bread but the kids eating it this time wanted to have the “full corn bread experience” as it was their first time.

This photo is of the non-vege version – just add bacon:

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On Sunday, as Scott and I had to leave a bit earlier than a casual brunch allows, I prepared a smoothie to start (no photo) containing banana, sweetened almond milk, soaked walnuts and vanilla – blended. I wanted to strain it to get the larger chunks of walnut that wouldn’t blend (used a stick blender, probably would’ve been better blended with an actual blender) but there wasn’t a strainer. The nuttiness was appreciated anyhow. To accompany (but not compliment) the smoothie, I had already baked a loaf of what I call magic bread AKA The Life Changing Loaf of Bread thanks to the amazing Sarah Britton of “My New Roots” fame. I topped toasted sliced of this bread with cream cheese, capers, smoked salmon and a bit of lemon zest and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Amaze balls!

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Suffice to say, there were groans of delight after a filling breakfast, on both days which made me quite a happy lass.

I spent yesterday afternoon trying to keep the goodness of the weekend going with a book in the sun. I even had to slip, slop, slap as the sun was feeling harsh and I have pasty ass skin. Later met my sister for a couple of drinks at a local pub where we hoped to win the “find the joker jackpot” but were unsuccessful. A trip via the supermarket on the way home to grab the weeks eats and home again to whip up some spaghetti alla puttanesca and a toasted caramelised onion and brie sandwich.

Should probably go to the gym after work today… 🙂 I hope you had a lovely weekend, whatever you did.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, shut the f**k up

I’ve been holding back as I don’t want to be the office Grinch, but it has come to a point where I can no longer stand by with my polite smiles and my nonchalant responses to the comments that are passed when I am preparing food in the staff room. So instead of making it an issue in the work break room, I’m venting it into the cypersphere 🙂

Here are some of the comments I’ve become accustomed to hearing when preparing my meals:

“oooh, what is that?” (imagine an upturned nose and a grimace rather than an interested coo of delight)

“do you know what I thought it looked like?” 

“well, that looks….healthy” 

“are you on some kind of diet?”

The difference between them and I? I eat healthy. My meals are made from scratch and without an abundance of chemical processes or additives, preservatives etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good additive every now and then (whatever that flavour on Cheetos is that turns them orange and makes me fiend for the whole bag – you’re evil and I love you!) but for the most part, I do my best to eat well. 

Due to the gluten intolerance, my love/hate relationship with dairy and my inability to digest any kind of protein at an optimal level, my food ends up being less main stream than my colleagues.

But do they have to make comments EVERY time I’m making something?! I don’t look at their food and say out loud “wow, that looks like something I would NEVER eat.” 

I know none of them mean to upset or insult me, and that’s not what I’m even getting at – I don’t feel insulted or judged or upset by the comments. It’s more the fact I have to give some kind of explanation as to what I’m eating and why I’m eating it EVERY SINGLE TIME I’M IN THE KITCHEN. Without fail. Every time. And I have to be nice about it, which I hate. Me and fake niceness don’t really go very well together. Especially not towards people who’ve known me for nearly a year and have been witnessing this “odd” food behaviour for months now.

Yes, maybe my breakfast smoothie (usually a fruit juice, berries, a banana, some pysillium husk and my Ultimate Greens powder which turns it a nice murky sludge colour) does look a little off colour and more along the lines of a glass of swamp poop, but must you imply that with your tones of repulsion? Or not even implied, but just outright said that it looks unappetizing. So does your face, but I don’t say it out loud. Plus no one really eats a face these days…so it’s out of context. You get where I’m going with that though, right?

One guy keeps joking about how I’m eating buckwheat again when he sees something he doesn’t recognise on my place. This is after I went through a phase of brown rice, broccoli, tuna and feta for lunch. To him, brown rice looked like buckwheat and now it’s funny. To him. 

I was adding ground linseed to my breakfast a while back and one lady asked me what it was and when I told her she said “urrrrrgh” without even knowing what is was. She had the decency to ask what it was before passing further judgement and when I told her she said “yuck”. I laughed (because I am good natured) and asked her why she thought that was yuck and she said “it just was”. More like, it had the word “seed” in it and those are known to be healthy things. Gross. Seeds – who would DO such a thing?! EAT A SEED?! YOU MUST BE MENTAL!

Maybe it’s because I’m a foodie that I am more interested in the strange things that someone else might be eating. Enough to not be rude about it. Instead, taking a genuine interest in the hope of possibly discovering something exciting or interesting or really, really delicious.

But these people… They’re all grown ups, all up for some cheeky banter, which I can totally appreciate. And for a while it was nice they were paying attention to my weird and wonderful (not even…just healthier than theirs) foods but now it’s just annoying. I’ve worked here for about eight months and I eat “strange” things – please get over it. Please. I’m begging. Just shut up. Just walk past me, get your roast dinner that your wife cooked out of the fridge, shove it in the microwave, wait for the beep and then bugger off. Or you, with your cup of soup: just fuck off. Don’t talk to me, don’t cast your judgey eyes. Just take it for granted that I might be eating something that doesn’t look like a sandwich and move right along.

Also, don’t think you’re funny when you make snide comments about how I must be enthralled with the happenings of Emmerdale farm on the staff room tele while I wait for “Come dine with me” to come on so that I can stop thinking about work for an hour while I eat my buckwheat and pond slime smoothie. It’s old. I’m over it. 

 

 

 

Ode to Sausage Roll

Today you were brought to me by a Rose

You tasted bad for me but I ate you anyway

By bad for me I really mean very very good

The bag you came in is now a little bit see-through

I thought about primary school canteens and rainy days while I was eating you

I thought about that pump class I did yesterday and how it totally justifies eating you now and also because I went to have muesli but I had only a spoonful left and the other muesli I bought is still at home.

So really, I HAD to have you or I would die of hunger

I thought about how you will probably give me heartburn later and about how if pastry was just a food on it’s own that I would just eat that.

You are gone now.

I made the most of you

Three small bites out of your tail end when I could have just had one bite. I made you count.

Your crumbs were in the see-through bag. I should have screwed them up with the bag but instead I tipped the bag up and slid your fatty golden brown slivers into my open mouth.

I know how to treat you.

All that remains of you now are the specs of pastry on my face and the bits in my scarf. 

Don’t worry, I won’t shake them out for at least another 15 minutes when they start to bug me.

I spoke too soon little sausage roll, the front desk needed attending – your remains were hastily brushed from my face and violently shaken from my scarf in order to talk to the DHL man (who, by the way looks a little tired and unkempt today – I suspect a relationship issue).

It’s my job, sausage roll. I’m not sorry I wanted to look presentable.

I am sorry you are gone though.

I will only ever think of you fondly.

Goodbye SR.