Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Big Apple" Cake

The evolution of an idea.

Offer to make friend a birthday cake.

Think about what friend is into.....

Friend recently went on a big trip to New York....Google cakes about New York. Can't really make the Statue of liberty...or high rise buildings or a yellow cab....Lower standard, due to poor skill at cake making...repeat search.

I know! (cue light bulb over head moment) ...a cake in the shape of an apple....for the "Big Apple". Google Big Apple Cake ideas. Hmmm...none really doable or jumping out at me

Invent own.

Do a rough Sketch of cake

Bake a chocolate fudge cake according to instructions.
Cut into the desired shape.

Lather that baby up with some delicious butter cream icing. 
Don't forget a "crumb layer"

 Take photo of said cake for "the blog"

Present to lovely birthday girl and hope she likes it.

Happy Birthday Liz from She exceeds rubies

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

9 Signs you are an uncool grown up.

1) You say or think things like "can you believe what the kids are wearing these days?!"
When I was at high school that latest rage was raiding your parents wardrobe for their seventies gear. Bell bottoms were in again, and thankfully my parents were hoarders so I thought I was so cool in original gears. And at the time I had an older friend who was in his twenties who remembered wearing them as a kid and he was mortified that they were "in" again. I thought he was so uncool! And now....people are wearing things I used to wear in the eighties and nineties and I think exactly the same as him now!
I marvel at the height some boys can get with their hair
Or jean shorts that are so short you can still see the pockets poking out the bottom??

Yep I am officially uncool.

2) You write letters of complaints:
This week alone I have written two emails of complaint! I'm not usually a complainer, but in this consumer driven society why not!? The first one was to Sky TV. They may not be playing the NRL season on TV this year. After only recently subscribing to Sky in recent years and watching sports for the first time since it used to be free, we were enjoying watching the games. I let them know we would cancel our subscription if it wasn't happening!
And this morning I sent our local cinema this little email:

Why is the Whangarei Cinema not playing the Silverlinings play book!??? It was advertised as “coming soon”...and then on the release date it had disappeared! It’s an Oscar nominated movie...and there are enough nutters in the Northland area who might enjoy the story content. Please reconsider thanks :)
Yours sincerely
Becky boo and I were looking forward to seeing it when it came here. 

Yep officially uncool.

3) You see your bank manager more than you see some relatives: 
I guess this one is more about being a grown up with grown problems like mortgages. But getting a mortgage is a fact of life these days, unless you get free money from rich parents! Fixing? floating? current official cash rate, the economy...all very geeky!

4) You prefer fashion from 5 years ago:
I am stuck in boot leg jeans. My thinking is...if you are not skinny...can you still pull off skinny jeans?...I don't think I can! I'm sticking with...wear clothes that enhance your body shape. I wish I cared more about it...and I do feel good after getting new clothes, but I'm super fussy and a little bit cheep!

Yep...I need a stylist because I'm officially uncool! 

5) You take afternoon naps:
It was a glorious Sunday afternoon recently, but instead of heading out somewhere I read a book and had a long nap! My body is out of whack with shift work...but really!? I really need to Carpe that flippin' Diem.

6) Instead of a night out you prefer a wine and a DVD or book:
Who can afford to pay a baby sitter $10-20 an hour and then pay $15 for the movie each and popcorn too. Yikes if you went and saw any of Peter Jackson's movies your baby sitter could make up to $30-60 for the night. A cheaper option is waiting for it to come out on DVD and having super market wine and snacks!

Yep officially old and uncool!

7) When a young colleague keeps saying the word "totes", you think; why can't you just say the whole word "totally", its not that long!
Once upon a time I was good at making up nick names for people because I couldn't be bothered saying their whole name. For a long time everyone called our Pastor..."Pastor G" because I couldn't be bothered saying his whole name...and what do you know it caught on!

Now shortening words...not so much!

8) It takes you a few weeks to catch on to the latest internet meme or dance craze.
So for a while I was thinking "what the heck is the Harlem Shake". So I actually asked google..."what is the harlem shake" It presented me with some videos like this:

If you are still dancing the Gangnam styles you are officially uncool.

9) You say the word "cool":
Things are no longer "Cool" they are "kewl", or "epic" or "sick"....I think. I dunno, you might wanna ask a sixteen year old!

"What-evs" anyways right!? I think this one really sums me up.

How cool are you one the Coolness dial??

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to cook Kingfish 6 ways

When a friend of ours texted and said he had some fish for us, we were over there ASAP to pick it up. Who is going to turn down fresh free fish! When we discovered it was “Kingfish” I was a little hesitant. “Kingi” are popular with the experienced New Zealand fisherman because of their size and their "fight". My hubster loves fishing however has never really gone for Kingi, opting for Snapper, Trevally or Kahawai instead, so cooking up some Kingfish fillets was new for me.
As usual when I don’t know how to cook something I google it, and then decide to make it my own...because ...a) their recipe never sounds that appealing or b) I don’t have all the ingredients or c) I hate following recipes. But you know that about me already.
Any hoo... I present Kingfish done 6 ways...all done on one night... This fed the 6 of us, 3 adults and 3 children. 

Approximately 1 kg of Kingfish fillet. The amazing thing about this stuff is NO bones! Great for the kids or for people afraid of fish bones.

Dish one:
Kingfish Sashimi.  Fillets sliced as thin as possible with a bowl of soy sauce to dip into. 

Zak zak having a try. He likes salmon sushi, and liked a couple of these. 
Surprisingly it didn't taste "fishy". Just nice subtle flavour. I guess that's why that Japanese love it

Dish two:
Crumbed Kingfish. Sliced kingfish into 1cm thickness. Dipped in flour, then dipped in egg, then coated in breadcrumbs.  Fried in a shallow frying pan of hot vegetable oil. And drained on a paper towel.

Dish three:
Kingfish cakes. Kingfish cut or blended into tiny bits. 1 Finely chopped onion, some cooked mashed potato, Herbs (parsley, dill etc) and seasoning,  egg and flour to combine mixture into mold-able fish cakes. Fried in a shallow frying pan of hot vegetable oil. 

Dish four:
Mediterranean Kingfish:  baked in Tin foil with sliced cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, thinly sliced capsicum and basil leaves with a drizzle of olive oil. Wrap into a tight parcel and bake until cooked*. 

Oh look at the pretty colors! 

Dish five:
Ginger and soy Kingfish. Baked in tin foil with a drizzle of soy sauce and olive oil and 1/2 tsp minced ginger. Baked until cooked*.

And finally Dish six:
Sweet chilli and coriander Kingfish. Baked again in a tin foil parcel with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce and minced coriander paste. Baked until cooked*.
*Cooking times will vary according to the size of the fillet and amount etc

Not bad for a Sunday night dinner! With a side of homemade potato chips and a salad, this was a delicious feast. The children loved the crumbed fish. And us adults enjoyed all of the different ways eating it in a "Spanish tapas style"  I am definitely not afraid of trying to cook this fish again. Delicious!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Soon to be distant memories

This kid does my head in sometimes. I honestly thought I was a great parent...okay slightly better than mediocre parent, until he came along. This well thought out, considered and prayed about third and last child keeps us on our toes. The twos and its reputation of being terrible have been with us and all its glory.
When other parents would tell me of their two year old's behaviour I would nod with empathy all the while judging them quietly in my head. Giving my self a little metaphorical pat on the back. My first two had their moments but they never seemed that bad. 
And then along came Zak zak. I loved having a newborn baby. The night time wakes to breast feed were lovely in comparison to the previous time with Joe. I really loved it. But when he hit one we began to brace our selves. The tantys began. At first we could soothe it with the dummy but since getting rid of it the tantys escalated. Anywhere, anytime. I want it  and I want it NOW!
Oh  little fire cracker, who and what will you become? 

Out of our three kids, he has been the only one to need pediatrician visits. Born with three knots in his umbilical cord after doing somersaults in the womb and possibly too much coffee on my part (who knows!), we keep an eye on an ASD,  which is a small hole that is between the left and right atria of his heart. He is developing fine and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Routine echo-cardiograms keep an eye on it which is getting smaller as he grows, hallelujah.

twisties after starving all day!
Last year he underwent a small operation at Starship hospital for a urology issue. It was a rough day for hubby. The anesthetist was a lovely youngish mum who immediately put my mind at ease. I took my first knitting project and prayed that all would be well. We were last on the list that day, so it was a long day of starving after traveling from Whangarei to Auckland that morning. 
When Zak zak came out of his anesthetic he was beside himself, and would not stop crying. The recovery nurse said this was quite normal but we were really feeling it after 5 minutes of it. I got out my Ipod and played the song, Come to me, by Jenn Johnson.  Zakzak heard the the first line of the music and immediately calmed down and stopped crying and even went back to sleep. I can't explain the amazing sense of Gods peace that filled that place, but it was very cool.  

He continues to challenge and amaze us. Desperate to catch up with his older siblings who on the one hand will fight for him and on the other hand get  annoyed when he breaks their stuff. He certainly adds a dynamic to the house hold that we love. The neighbours certainly hear it! Our three kids sound like 10 kids! 

Usually affectionate, and up for a cuddle, he can melt your heart with a "soweee" or a "tickle me mummy". We are fascinated at how much he looks like his father and nothing like me. A real life mini me. There are only four more months of the twos, and I am going to (force my self ) to make the most of it. The toilet training, pointing out every helicopter in the sky, or diggers or the cranes . The board books, Mickey mouse club house and Mr potato head, the everyday new words and sayings. All these things will soon be distant memories. 

I will not forget the well rounded parenting experience I am receiving, in fact I am grateful. No more metaphorical patting my self on the back,  more empathetic to the parent of supermarket tanty toddler now more than ever. No more quietly judging.  Because if there's one thing I learned on this 10 year parenting journey is...these little beings have a mind of their own.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines day 2013

I woke up excited. Today was the day, a night out with the hubster for Valentines Day. Months ago I ensured that I would have the night off work, a week ago we booked our selves in for dinner at the best place in town. Are you  sure we can afford it this week? Probably not...but lets do it anyway. And we excitedly waited. The last time we went out for a nice dinner was "the weekend of possibilities" way back in June last year. BC (before children) we went out for dinner all the time... now we are limited to two times a year!
But valentines day you say is just a cheesy money making scheme by greeting card company's. I didn't care. I wanted to be wined and dined this day. 

So my day panned out a little something like this. 

# Sent the kids off to their learning zones and grabbed a coffee from my favourite cafe and picked  hubster up a mochacinno and two extra flat whites for two of his colleagues. 

Arrived home to find a package on my door step. Hmm. I don't remember ordering anything recently? I rip into it. Its a book I won from a blogger giveaway from Miriam. Yay!

Help out with school swimming transport. Take the camera and take some snaps of gorgeous boy number one. 

Do the usual afternoon stuff, pick up kids, bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, make dinner for the kids, feed, shower, homework. Get house in order before baby sitter arrives.

Look in the mirror mortified realizing I look tired and dishevelled. Holy smokes I better get cracking and look lovely for my date.Clothes on, make up slapped on. Toddler in bed. Out the door ready to make an 8pm dinner reservation. (I know right! 8pm! Who eats at that time of night?)

We arrive to the swankiest place in the city, A Deco. Chef Brenton Low has been named Cuisine Magazines Chef of the year. Of the whole of NZ! So he's kind of a big deal. We have been here before once for dinner way back in 2011. But we are such a couple of hicks that the fine dinning thing makes us laugh nervously. The poshness of it all just cracks us up. But we were here for the food. Boy do we love our food. I love going out for tea with my man. Like me he virtually eats anything...except offal.
We arrive to find that there is a set Valentines Day menu at $75 each. It would have been nice to be told that over the phone when we booked. What if we only wanted a main only? It didn't worry us because we were already set on trying a degustation type menu again tonight anyway. It all sounded delicious. I decided to take my camera this time. I hate snapping pictures in such a nice place like this...but really it is a complement to the chef. Such works of art should be savored right? We did mention to the couple next door.."its for the blog." 

Peach Bellini and the bottle of water I accidentally ordered for $12!?

Bread and Amuse.
Goat Cheese fritter on tomato sauce.
Summer green pea soup with sauteed local ham and three cheese fritter
Sesame seared NZ caught Tuna with Squid, Soy caviar, curried cauliflower & wasbi avocado

My hot date and his "palate cleanser". Pineapple and citrus sorbet.

Aged fillet of Beef with twice baked cheese souffle, beetroot two ways and winter vegetables

And finally...

Baked rich 70% chocolate tart with huanui peach sorbet, manuka smoked chocolate fondue. 

Yes it all tastes as good as it looked!
Happy Valentines day My love. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Monday

What do you do when you worked all weekend and have nothing better to do on a Monday. You head to the beach. The older kids were at school, so it was just me and the little guy. Fortunately my lovely long time friend was free to be picked up on the way.

This my friends is Ocean Beach. Today the water was stunningly clear, with the bluest water. And on a Monday the beach was practically empty.
A beautiful 35minute coastal drive from the city,  Ocean beach is one of Whangarei’s favourite surf beaches.
We are so spoilt for choice in here. It takes about 30-50 minutes to get to several lovely beaches. You can choose the Tutukaka Coast or the Whangarei heads. Want a nice calm beach you go to Whale Bay. Keen for some waves keep driving until you hit Sandy Bay. Or you could head South and drive to Ruakaka or Waipu. 
We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the country and I better make the most of it this summer!

Friday, February 8, 2013


The creative juices have finally started to flow.
Its been a while. A long while. But I have discovered that I like trying new things. What I used to enjoy creating BC (before children), is different to now.

Out of virtually no where I decided I would try and make a quilt. How hard could it be right? Well, pretty hard! For me anyway. I am once again winging it. In fact..."winging it" is my life mantra! I bought some square quilt pieces and have progressed slowly. As I have mentioned before, Im no natural fact my sewing machine still lives in its box, and I have mini panic attacks when I go to the spot light fabric department.

There have been times I have wanted to give up, but my lovely mother in law has helped me breath through it and encouraged me to keep going and get it finished. Its supposed to be a picnic blanket. I have the finished product in my head.... But im thinking quilting might not be for me. I'm quite OCD about things looking symmetrical and and having the colours coordinated EXACTLY. So it has been an interesting exercise. Sewing straight and cutting straight are not my best skills. Anyhoo heres a sneaky peak. I think perhaps showing you might help me actually finish it. I would like to sit on it at the beach this summer!

Laying all the patterns out the first day I bought it.

Sewn  it all together. Not sure what to do next? 
Added some black around the edge.

And that's all I have done so far. This is going to be one expensive picnic rug!

Creating Curry.

I'm loving my curry spices. I'm a bit of a plastic Indian  I love the spices but hate the chili heat. My little brother bought me this curry spice tin for my wedding present many years ago, and it is special to me because it has an engraving on the top with out wedding date and name on it. A very thoughtful present for an (at the time) 18 year old boy.

You can make a curry out of anything. And what I learnt from my mum is there is no recipe, you put and little of this and a little of that. No curry ever seems to taste the same, well none of mine do anyway. Most towns have an Indian curry spice shop. If you are desperate you can try the supermarket stuff (think masterfoods or greggs), but in order to get descent turmeric and ground Marsala you need to hit the authentic Asian markets.

Other key ingredients for a curry are onions, garlic and ginger. Thankfully my kids love curry, so no worries about having to get the kids to eat.
Go on, give it a go!
Or if you are local, come over for dinner, and ill cook you up a feed :)

Creating CAKE
I had a friend over for coffee this morning, and we are both moaning about how we need to get out and lose some pounds, but I really wanted cake!
So I made a mini layer cake. I have these cute little mini spring form tins and made a double layer chocolate fudge cake with a butter mocha icing.
So good and it was so little we didn't feel so guilty!

Its sitting on a side plate!

Oh yeah...Im loving these creative juices!