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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Small Town NZ - Waihi

Last weekend the band had a road trip to play at a wedding in Tauranga.
We stopped at a couple of little towns on the way home. At first they don't look that interesting and you could easily drive through them, but when you stop and start to really look, there are all kinds of interesting little things to see.
We didn't really stop in Matamata though due to lack of time, just took this photo of their information centre, which is Hobbiton inspired. 

Matamata information centre

We thought this local identity would have made a good extra in a hobbit movie
Waihi is a small town with nearby Waihi Beach - which we didn't get to unfortunately. It was an early gold mining town, so still has some good wooden buildings full of character.


Vintage Style 

Ti Tree Cafe - Waihi

Cafe courtyard

The Rob Roy Hotel - Waihi

We stopped at a cafe there, even though we hadn't meant to, as it looked so interesting in an old mining house.
When I'm buying clothes again I'd like to go back to the Vintage Style shop. They had lots of vintage clothes, as opposed to just preloved.
The Rob Roy Hotel is still open for paying guests, at a pretty cheap nightly rate, but I guess if they didn't read the blurb on the window about the ethereal night visitor they could be in for an eerie surprise - just creaking floorboards and slamming doors etc, nothing sinister.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Easy Label Removal

Get Those Labels Off

A while back I saved a pin on Pinterest with a method of getting labels off jars easily. Today I gave it a whirl on some wine and cordial bottles that I intend to present iced water in for our big birthday bash coming up.
Here's the recipe...
Fill a sink/ basin with really hot water.
Fill bottles with really hot water also.
To the sink/ Basin add:
 1/2 cup of baking soda
 1 tablespoon of detergent
2 cups of white vinegar

This will froth up and the labels will be easy to remove, in fact some will just lift off by themselves.
 I found different labels behaved differently, some were easier to get off than others.

Vinegar, baking soda, detergent and HOT water to get those labels off

Don't throw the water out when you are finished...I decided it was the perfect stuff to wipe down my kitchen cabinets with, then wash the floor, then used it to flush the toilet.
The first sink load I did, the water wasn't hot enough and I was too impatient. So with the second lot the water was HOT, and I left the bottles soaking while I was doing the above mentioned cleaning. The labels came off much easier still. The remaining solution in the sink made quick work of cleaning up the extractor filters.
I'm going to be using those bottles a lot - I've found someone nearby, via Trademe, who sells raw milk and cream, so I will be taking along bottles to fill. Then I think cheese making could be on the cards.

Keeping It Pure

Last night on Prime we watched a great programme called Keeping It Pure, which this week examined New Zealand's vital marine environment and what is being done to protect and preserve its health for the future.
It was disheartening, and yet heartening at the same time. Seeing the contents of a dead turtle's stomach - with ingested plastic - some with New Zealand Pure written on it! But then seeing the work being done with school children and beach clean - ups. It makes me keep wanting to do more.
Keeping it Pure is on again next Sunday at 8.30pm. Hope I don't miss it.

The National Cookery Book
During our big clean up Derek came across this book, published in maybe the 1950's - there is no date in it.

After reading the table of times to cook vegetables, I could imagine why children (and probably adults too) wouldn't want to eat vegetables
Brussels Sprouts
Spinach                 20 - 30 minutes in boiling water with a pinch of soda
French Beans

But then to top it off were the recipes for invalids....I bet they pushed away most of their food....
Beef balls, raw; Beef jubes, raw; Beef sandwiches, raw; Brain creams, Brains scalloped, fried, scrambled, stewed; fish custards; oysters (now I love oysters, but not when I'm sick) and gruel among many other tasty (?) recipes.
I don't think I can trust any recipes in that book!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

New Little Garden with 1,000 Year Old Embellishment

It might seem like bloggers have perfectly tidy lives, because we choose the best bits to photograph, so my first photo is keeping it real.
We have been doing a lot of sorting lately to make more habitable rooms, so while the caravan and Katie's bedroom are looking good - the garage looks like this....
Garage shambles, but better than it was.

We are working our way through it so that we can get the car back in, and have band practice in there.
I found a little treasure in there while Derek wasn't looking and have used it to decorate the new garden I've just made. What's the point of keeping pieces of Roman pottery (approx 1,000 years old) stored away where no-one can see them. Fortunately Derek was happy with that when he got home, and I didn't have to put them back.
New garden with shards of Roman pottery

Another Idea to Save using Plastic Wrap
I try not to use plastic wrap, so when I wanted to cover dinner plates for 15 minutes or so in the fridge I decided to use saucepan lids - they make great food covers. Maybe everyone already does this?

6 Months Without Buying Clothes
Yes, I have gone 6 months without buying any new - or even second hand - clothes or shoes! I made a resolution last year to break a habit, and to make me make use of what I already have. At times I have been tempted, when I think "I have nothing to wear" but have always managed to find something in my wardrobe. I'm really pleased about the time and money saved, as well as not using the worlds resources unnecessarily.
After another 6 months I am going to donate some things to charity and review my stand.

Pretty Coleus 
I'm delighted with these coleus that I grew from seed saved from some plants that I bought last year. They add a bit of tropical colour to the outdoor living room.
potted coleus - grown from saved seed.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Inger's Cucumber Salad

The blogs have been a bit sparse lately, mostly because I have been too busy to try new things and don't want to blog just for the sake of it.
This week I have made lasagne for 60 people to freeze in preparation for our big event. That was quite a mission in a kitchen not equipped for volume, but it was completed successfully - even a tray of gluten free.
The other thing keeping me busy this week has been the arrival of visitors from Norway. We took them to Waitangi yesterday (for Waitangi Day), which would have been much better had it not rained and blown all day.

Ceremonial waka - Bay of Islands

Cucumber Salad
Inger is renowned for her Cucumber Salad and happily made it for us. 
I scored the recipe from her - which is great as we have cucumbers coming on thick and fast.
storing the little bit of leftover cucumber salad

150ml white vinegar
150 ml water
5 tablespoons of sugar
salt and pepper
1 cucumber, sliced very thinly (Inger uses a cheese slicer)

Bring the first four ingredients to the boil and dissolve the sugar. Place all in a bowl with the cucumber. Best to refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving for the flavour to develop. This keeps well for a few days, and then vinegar mix can be reused with another cucumber.
Inger recommends serving this with fish, or added to sandwiches.