Follow by Email

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Asian Barbecued Mussels

A Neat Trick

I found this snippet in a New Zealand Good Health Choices magazine - and I'm going to leave it for Derek to see, so he understands (I think he gets it really but works in a different way himself).

Next time you need to turn your brain's creative talents up, give the "neat freak" part of your personality a day pass. US researchers say untidy surroundings make it much easier to think outside the box.

This blog wasn't intended to be a cooking blog - but slow living involves a lot of DIY cooking, and my favourite recipes are the ones that are simple, quick and have good results, and are reasonably healthy. I find it easier to direct friends and family to the blog than email or text the recipes they request.
So here is the Asian Barbecued Mussels recipe that we served at the party, which everyone seemed to love. This recipe came from a New Zealand Life and Leisure magazine

Ngaio cooking Asian Barbecued Mussels - nice job!

Asian Barbecued Mussels

24 cooked mussels on the half shell
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander (but I used parsley, not so Asian, I know)
1 spring onion very finely chopped
1 small red chilli very finely chopped
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
about 1/4 cup of white wine

Preheat the barbecue hotplate.
Mix together coriander, spring onion, chilli, oils and seasonings.
Spoon a little mixture over each mussel. Place on the preheated barbecue hotplate and top each mussel with a spoonful of wine. Pour a little water on to the hotplate to create some steam and cook mussels for 2-3 minutes to fully warm through. Serves 6-8
I made the topping mix the day before, and the mussels were cooked and half shelled in the morning, the topping added then refrigerated until time to barbecue, making it a good dish for entertaining.

Asian Barbecued Mussels

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Creative Reuse of Cereal Packets, Beach Treasure

I'm still playing a lot as relaxation to balance what has been a busy 3 months.
I found this blog post on repurposing cereal packets from One Good Thing by Jillee, and I thought I would post what I have been doing too.

from One Good Thing by Jillee blog

So here are some of my cards that I have been making, using the plain side of cereal boxes to paint on with watercolours and a bit of detail with waterproof pen.
Watercolour card painted on cereal box cardboard

Watercolour greeting card painted on cereal box cardboard

The next card was painted on a piece of used envelope which was of a beautiful grainy paper that I couldn't bear to throw away. It was for a lovely lady from a shop in town who picked a big bag of her plums for me. I hope she liked the card.
pen and watercolour painted on recycled envelope

I like to use what is around rather than spending on new art materials. It is a little art project that I can tackle (and finish) every day to keep my creative side playing.
I have been down at the beach playing too, in the sunshine while the dog has a good run around and swim.
This is a great time of the year to be out fosicking with my metal detector - look what I found last week. Nothing of great value; the medallion is from 1953-54, Queen Elizabeth's visit to NZ, that apparently all the school children were given.
treasure hunting with my metal detector

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I've Been Shopping for Clothes, Yogini Drink.

Six months ago I gave myself a challenge - to not buy clothes for 12 months - not even vintage or recycled.
Well I have to confess that I have been having some serious urges to shop - to the point of visiting certain online shopping sites. The problem is that I have lots of events coming up - weddings to play, family celebrations, and a weekend gig at the Country Rock Festival in Paihia. 
So...if I didn't do something, next thing there would parcels arriving in the mail. Today I spent hours my own wardrobe!
I used Pinterest for inspiration - that's such a great site.
 I have tried on all sorts of combinations, and when I found a winner, I wrote it down, listed under the occasions I need them for.
Every occasion is covered, and the time spent has given me some more creative mixes than usual, accessories noted down too.
Now I've just got a huge mess to clean up.

Oh give me strength.

Yellow Yogini Drink

Image from Katie Silcox blog

One of the blogs I follow - quarteracrelifestyle reblogged this drink, which she described as a substitute for chai latte. The main ingredient, after milk, is turmeric, which is really good for health, as are the other spices used. I thought I would give this a go as a replacement for my morning coffee. It is delicious!

Yellow Yogini Drink

1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground ginger pinch nutmeg
1 cup of milk
sweetener to taste - honey or stevia leaves 

Melt the oil in a pan then add the spices and stir through.
Once you can smell the spices add the milk and stir well.
Bring to the boil. 
Pour into a blender (cover with a teatowel, not the lid due to steam)
Blend 20 secs. I use a handheld milk frother instead of the blender.

It doesn't taste like curry, as you might think. One of the health benefits of this drink is that it is said to aid sleep. I can vouch for that, but I think I'd better start drinking it at night after having extensive afternoon snoozes each day that I've had a cup of it.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Beaded Necklace from an Old T-shirt

After the past few weeks of frantic activity I don't feel like doing much more than pottering about at present, and lurking on Pinterest is one my favourite ways of doing very little.
I saw these cool scarves made out of shredded old t-shirts though, and jumped up to go make one.

from diary of an east yorker blogsite

Half way through I decided it didn't really suit me - too much fabric (little short neck), so I changed tack to make it into a fabric necklace, by using less strands and throwing on a few glass beads that I had around. I think I like it now.
cut the hem off the t-shirt, then cut strips approx 2cm wide

stretch the loops as far as they will go

finished product

You can see on the first image that they have used one strand of fabric to wrap over the seams to make a neat finish. To add the beads I just cut off one seam on each strand, and added a bead on either side. I then put a stitch through them all to hold them, and wrapped with an unstretched strand, adding a stitch or two to secure the final knot.
Just Google t-shirt scarves and you'll see there are loads of different ways to make them, with just a pair of scissors, and maybe needle and thread.
I'll add a few for inspiration...

from Etsy

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Party Shots

In previous posts I wrote about the preparations we were making for a big party at home, and how we wanted to make it as environmentally friendly as I felt able to manage. Well at clean-up, after taking lots to the recycling and returning hired gear, we were left with only one full rubbish bag, and half of that was from before the party. Considering we catered for over 100 people, that's not too bad I suppose.
I used an ugly old fridge that we had been meaning to send to the dump for a drinks chiller (dressed up, of course).


After - on the day it was dressed up with fernery, full of ice and bottles, and had a sun umbrella

My niece's wedding a couple of weeks before the party was the source of a dozen white paper lanterns, which were then unwanted, so they made the dining area in the garage festive.

Still getting set up.

We ended up hiring half of the plates, with the guests washing their own as part of the plan - I don't think they minded.

The birthday cake was made to resemble a pile of old leather bound books. It was completed at 4am on the day of the party - when I couldn't get back to sleep, so thought I might as well do something useful.

Birthday cake to resemble a pile of leather bound books

It might not look like a bought one, but it didn't cost $200+ either - and it was really delicious. It was a carrot cake, a recipe that I had never made before. I just googled "never-fail carrot cake" - I will put the recipe in a following blog.
And a picture of the band...that's the party boy on bass, and me on sax.

The band - me 'n' the boys

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Antipasto Recipe, Terracycle

Well, the party is done and dusted, and I'm still sorting through photos to put up here. We were so fortunate to have just brilliant weather, and a wonderful bunch of friends and family.
One of the recipes I tried out on 100 people that I had never made before was this antipasto mix. It could be made a couple of weeks beforehand, and is an Annabel Langbein recipe, so I knew it wouldn't fail. I loved it, so hope everyone else did too.

Antipasto mix  after baking.

Antipasto Confit

400 grams of creamy fetta
1 each yellow and red pepper
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
12 cherry tomatoes (I didn't put these in as the green shield beetles had ruined mine)
1 cup of kalamata olives
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano (I used fresh)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 130C. Cut feta into 2-3 cm chunks. Deseed peppers and cut into 3 cm chunks. Spread peppers, feta, garlic cloves, olives and tomatoes in a single layer in a large shallow baking dish. Mix oil with oregano, lemon zest, salt and pepper and pour over the feta and vegetables. Bake for about 2 hours.
Cool to room temperature and serve or pack into jars, top with oil and store in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of weeks. Drain to serve reserving oil to keep in cooking or salad dressings.

Antipasto confit

Cute wee bach - Pataua North

I was delighted to read that Terracycle have set up in NZ. They take hard to recycle rubbish and upcycle it. All people have to do is collect it up, freepost it in after registering on and payment for it will be made to a charity of their choice. 
Terracycle are a worldwide organization so if you are reading this from another country they are probably already there.
At the moment they are only collecting confectionery wrappers here, but elsewhere they take toothbrushes and cleaning products and even cigarettes.
Their site shows the products they manufacture (which aren't available here yet) such as pavers, park benches, watering cans and rubbish bins and more. Hopefully schools and clubs will start collecting for it.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Vintage Caravan Reveal

Phew, it has been a busy year so far - a lot of which was due to organizing a huge party at home for my Derek's milestone birthday.
We have finally finished the caravan, which we will need as extra accommodation, so here are some of the pix as promised.



Ugly gap where an extractor fan had to be removed
Nifty cover-up using an old picture frame and a cut down bamboo blind remnant.

The party is this weekend, and I will have more photos coming, to show what I have been busy with in the past month. I have some recycled party decor, plus ideas for throwing a big bash in a reasonably environmentally friendly way. Just ask me about how to cater for 120 people (which has involved a lot of research so as to get the safest food handling techniques), and hopefully there will be a birthday cake to boot. I am going to make one that looks like a pile of old books, seeing as my Derek is a collector of old books.
Something we have recycled from my niece's wedding were these (already recycled wood) signs.

We just painted over the reception and ceremony words (have already had pointed questions from some friends, so don't want to be getting them all excited), then painted on our words with a paint pen. I haven't used one of these before - it was so easy.
After the weekend normal blog pace will be resumed.