Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas (pick one that you like or pick all, like me;) everyone. Hope your holidays and festive season filled with joy and happiness and plenty of food; your New Year full of inspirations and prosperity. And if you have a feline friend or two or more...enjoy your Catmas everyday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sangria - in the Park or Not

When I think of Sangria, I cannot help also thinking of Lou Reed and his Perfect Day. But I tell you what, you don't have to wait for perfect days- you can have it on any warm days, in the park or not. Sangria is so easy to make, so easy to drink and so very, very easy to get drunk on!

I make my Sangria in a jug - about a litre or so, a little bit at a time and top up as we go. You can also make it in bach in a a punch bowl and that would be beautiful as a centrepiece by itself. It also looks so festive for Christmas or New Year parties.

1 Bottle of red wine, I use New Zealand Merlot
750 mil. of Sprite or 7Up, better from cans than bottles
200 mil Cognac
200 mil Pomegranate Juice or Cranberry Juice
1 cup Strawberries, chopped in chunks
1 cup Cherries, pitted
Ice cubes

Mix everything in a jug or glass bowl. If you make it in a jug, make half portion at a time. Substitute cherries with raspberries or blueberries - or mix them all. Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Surinder's Christmas Shortbread Biscuits

Last week I had a get-together- before -Christmas with my friends, Surinder and Dee. Both of them were my gym instructors at some points and our friendship has grown from then on.

Surrinder gave me these wonderfully yummy shortbread biscuits she baked herself. They were so yummy Bob and I gobbled all of them in 2 days - very festive, I'd say:) She also kindly gave me the recipe - only 3 ingredients.

You'll need:
225 grams of butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 cups plain flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 130 degrees C.

Cream butter and icing together. Stir in flour to form dough and roll out on a floured surface to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut with shaped cookie cutters and prick with fork a few times for decoration.

Bake on a baking sheet for about 1 hour. Easy isn't it? Thank you very much, Surinder.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Flag?

Last month we voted by mail our preference for the our new flag referendum should we change the flag in the future. We like Kyle Lockwood's flags but our number one preference is not the above black and blue but red and blue of similar design.

The result published in the New Zealand Herald  is very interesting. Less than half of eligible voters cast their votes and among those, almost 10% is spoiled votes. They said that it might be the result of protest votes - from people who do not want to change and push for status quo. Some friends of mine either did not vote at all or voted tactically for the least preferable designs. They told me over the coffee that they did not agree with the change so they voted for the design they hated. Didn't they know that they might end up with it? One said that several veterans who fought for the present flag are still alive so we should not change it. Of course they are/were our heroes; more so than rugby stars. I told her I begged to differ about the flag. I believe those who have fought, still with us today or not; they have fought under the flag - not for the flag. They have fought for our democracies and our freedoms so that we can vote today whether to change the flag or not to change and that we can agree to disagree.

Whatever they voted for - it's absolutely their freedom of choice and their democratic right to vote. The freedom we sometimes take for granted - the freedom that doesn't come magically by just flying a piece of cloth.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Love Laksa, no worries. It's easy now with store bought paste and you don't have to sweat over that seafood stock any more. I use Asian Gourmet's Singapore Laksa Paste - funny enough, it's made in Thailand.

Just follow the instruction on the packet - you can use either white rice noodles or egg noodles. If you use egg noodles, instant noodles are easy and quick. If you use rice noodles, you need to soak them in warm water for an hour or so. Then cook them in boiling water until soft and cooked through. The direction on the packet tells you to fry the paste with oil - you can add a couple tablespoons of coconut milk  (the fatty bit from the top of the can) as well. Add some vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, bok choy or curly kale, green capsicum - don't stick to just beansprouts. Make sure you carrot and broccoli are cooked through unless you like them crunchy. You can also add some mushrooms but I think mushrooms are too watery and do not enhance the taste of this dish. Don't go overboard with coconut milk either - remember this is a soup not curry, so you have to dilute it to be drinkable or slurpable.

I also use chicken meat as well as prawns in my Laksa - prawns add some seafood-ness to it. Don't forget some boil eggs and chopped spring onion and coriander, Try making it and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Baby Shower and Carrot Cake

 My very good friend, Debbie, is going to be a grandmother and pretty soon - she's due on 27 December. But it can be any day now, really, depending on how soon or how late Baby Maude decides to see the world.

Last Saturday we had a Baby Shower get together at her place. About 20 of us, girls of different age and two little boys; Debbie's friends (who know Charlotte pretty well), Charlotte's friends, Charlotte's friend's mom and Charlotte's friends' kids (2 boys, 1 girl). I know Charlotte since she was a school girl - then she went on to be a journalist. TV presenter and travelled the world over. Now she comes home to stay and raise the kid. Wow...I feel ancient:) 
We had a lot of yummy finger food and drinks and that Sangria. Lovely, lovely Sangria!Someone made this beautiful carrot cake - decorated with a few stems of lavender and it looked and smelled gorgeous. Late on Debbie just add these tiny ducklings on the cake - perfect for the occasion. However, these ducklingss were not edible and many of us has to spit it out on to our serviettes! We had a laugh and the hostess just had to collect her ducklings and hand wash them.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Crushed Avocado

Just a simple idea yet very delicious and nutritious - I don't know why people are up in arms about Nigella's Avocado on toast . She just throw several ideas together for breakfast dish and I don't see anything wrong with it. Some people you cannot please - I'd say. Long time ago when she introduced a dish from leftover - and that leftover was peking duck - some people complained that it was too posh. Now it's too simple with avocado!

I am not Nigella Lawson's avid fan but I have time for her. I still make my Rocky Road  using her recipe. My favourite food at my favourite local cafe is Crushed Avocado on Toast> Simplicity yet effective - I can't see anything wrong with it. If you don't like avocado, try tomato salsa instead, If you also don't like tomatoes - well, maybe you shouldn't read food blogs after all:)

Note: Sorry for blogging sporadically - it's getting silly around here.