Tag Archive for 'food'

Baked Alaska

Dinner Party

Dinner Party

Dinner

We decided it was time to take a little more time with our cooking when we get the chance. This is a (very) rare venison steak from our local butcher, potato and sweet potato chips, and grilled tomatoes and goats cheese on beet leaves and garlic.

Dinner

Dinner

Tomatoes, potatoes, and beets grown on our allotment. Yum.

Home time after fishing

Okiwi Bay

Okiwi Bay

Halloween/Movember pumpkin

Halloween Party

Halloween Party

Salmon

Seattle

Seattle

Restaurant 22

Cambridge

Cambridge

Sandwich

Darwin's Sandwich

Darwin's Sandwich

Beer festival

CAMRA beer festival

CAMRA beer festival

Fen Ditton

The beauty of the UK is that everything is so close you can go for a walk to a nearby village. You might even have a pub lunch when you get there…

Fen Ditton thatched cottage

Fen Ditton thatched cottage

Velvet Burger

Go to Velvet Burger in Dunedin, NZ for a good burger. They have connect four!

burger + beer

burger + beer

connect four!

connect four!

sticker

sticker

B-Side

I’m a big fan of the b-side lounge, and the b-sidecar…

b-side

b-side

They also have excellent mac ‘n’ cheese. Yum

White Mountains

We just spent a lovely week in the White Mountains, a few hours north of Boston. We tented on the hard campground sites, ate granola bars and breakfast diner food, saw chipmunks,

got nuts?

got nuts?

waterfalls,

one of many

one of many

great views,

toy train from a hilltop

toy train from a hilltop

and wierd fungi.

not quite sure

not quite sure

We also only drove someting a bit over 300 miles for the whole week. More photos here.

Premium economy

I somehow scored an upgrade to premium economy on my flight to San Francisco. Two seats on the side instead of three, and they lean back heaps further, the food is a bit better. Nice.

Unfortunately it was on the end of a days wait in Sydney airport, and I now have another five hours at SFO before leaving. Not so nice.

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Perth is nice: 2

Sunday was our chance to check the place out. We had a nice breakfast and then wandered through town. It’s clean, nice looking, and has pretty much the same stores as anywhere. The buildings look old in a nice classical way, not a run down one. It feels like it lacks the rough edges of Melbourne…

We caught the train/bus out to Freemantle. We paid $8 for a family ticket and didn’t show it to anyone once. Freemantle is nice, it feels a bit older and used. There are street performers and markets. It’s quite a tourist destination so is pretty crowded, especially around the markets.

We cam back and went to the reception, free food and drink. We searched for somewhere to eat after, and found an unfortunate pizza place. The chef was all ready to go home but got stuck making four more pizzas for us. I think we cheered him with a toast and buying lots of wine…

Freemantle

Kepler track

Part of the reason for going back to NZ was to walk the Kepler track with my brother and cousin. The Kepler is about 60km long, making a loop in the mountains rising from the shores of Lake Te Anau. Easter is a pretty busy time, so we did the walk backwards (like Spike Milligan…). This post is about our trip, and hopefully gives some useful info for others intending on doing the walk.

We planned for the walk at a bar, writing out a shopping list of stuff which we then went and purchased. Doing so at a supermarket we probably ended up with too much ‘normal’ food, and too little light camping style freeze-dried stuff. This turned out to be a bit of a pain for me, more due to lack of fitness and practise than because of extreme weight. We paid for huts on the DOC website weeks beforehand.

We stayed overnight in Te Anau at the main holiday park, and caught the bus to Rainbow Reach the next morning. We got some info on the bus when we picked up our hut tickets (needs to be done prior to the walk). The bus left from outside the DOC center across the road from where we stayed. The first day promised to be pretty easy, a leisurely 1.5hr walk to Lake Manapouri. We left early so had the whole afternoon to relax on the beach (relaxing involves DEET to repel the multitude of sandflies of course).

We found the huts to be well set up, with cookers, mattresses, and even a few pot scrubs to do the dishes. They also have running water and flush toilets! The mattresses are a bit noisy due to covers, but at least the bunk areas are warm due to lots of people. After some cheese and crackers with a few games of cards, we had dinner on the beach. We lit a fire and watched the sun set behind the hills.

sunset over Manapouri

Day two had some real walking, 5 or so hours up the valley to Iris Burn hut. Most of the day was in Beech forest, with the spare space taken up by ferns. The first half was much faster than we expected, probably since we found we went quicker earlier in the day.

ferns in the forest

We stopped for lunch by the river, finishing off the previous days lunch. At this point it was starting to dawn on us that we hay way more food than was necessary. Sometime around this time my pack was starting to feel pretty heavy too, partly due to the 80l capacity which I always seemed to fill most of.

lunch by the river

There is a stretch of the day out in the open, near the imaginatively named ‘Big Slip’. This part gave us the first real look at the surrounding hills. There is a little hill at the end of the day, and then a little drop down to Iris Burn hut. The area around the hut is very nice, with hills on all sides and a short walk to the (very cold) river where some people had a (very short) swim. Again the hut was well appointed. We met up with some friends, who told us of the joys ahead the next day, which involved a 500m climb via 97 zig-zags.

We managed the climb out of the trees reasonably easily the net morning, things being much easier first thing in the day. We were rewarded with some wonderful views when we reached the tree line near the end of the first climb. The rest of the day goes along the tops toward Luxmore hut, with two emergency shelters along the way. We stopped at the first for lunch, and the second for afternoon tea. I found the going pretty hard on my feet, with lots of rock underfoot instead of the more leafy/dirty stuff of the first two days. The best views came from the top of Mt Luxmore near the end of the day as we approached Luxmore hut.

view from Mt Luxmore

This being our last night, we continued to eat as much food as possible to make our final day as easy as possible. In the end we still finished the track with tonnes of scroggin and a loaf of bread.

The last day was a big drop down to the lake, and a walk around some of it. Before leaving we had a look at the caves near the hut. To get to them requires a few steps along the trail back to Te Anau, and a walk off to the right to where the caves start. The caves are quite spacious, aside from a little squeeze down to about 1m near the start. We didn’t have tonnes of time, so I turned back after a while. It seemed like the caves went on forever!

Luxmore caves

The walk down was pretty hard on my legs, being pretty much a constant downhill for about 1000m. Upon reaching the lake we had a quick bite (so did the ever present sandflies) and pushed on to the end. Ewan went ahead to collect the car…

We arrived at the control gates near the end eventually, and waited for our ride to appear. I had an Easter egg and enjoyed the view over the lake.

Lake Te Anau near the control gates

The rest of the photos are here.

Vintage 2008

Saturday was grape picking day. We picked three tonnes of Pinot for three or so hours,

in the vines

and then celebrated the harvest with a few well deserved drinks and wood fired pizza.

the harvest

Though really we were helping them out, thanks Brian and Jenny for another enjoyable day.

Aussie day

Australia day (try googling “invasion day“) was celebrated in proper tradition on Saturday, with footy on tv, at the Phoenix Landing, pies, and beer. Later Jill had a party with copious amounts of Australiana, like pav, koalas, coopers, and vegemite. Nice.

nz/australian invention

On large servings of food.

So the weekend I arrived here in Boston nearly a year ago, we went to R. F. O’Sullivan’s for burgers. Very good burgers indeed. I couldn’t even finish the chips on my plate… I finally went back there last night, and had exactly the same burger, totally devouring it and had two pints of the good ol’ UFO to go with. Being here has trained my stomach to new highs in food consumption… thanks America!

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Olympus MF-1 OM adapter

So Christmas has been a great time for sitting in front of the TV doing pretty much nothing. It’s also a time to drink some beer and play with my camera. I am fortunate to have in my possession an old 50mm f3.5 zuiko OM macro, and to use it I went and bought the adapter Olympus have to use these old lenses on the new digital SLR’s. Really there’s little to review. At about US$100 it’s a pretty expensive annulus, which is rather tight to get both onto my E500 and the lens, but it’s fun, and worth it if you have old OM lenses you want to bring in to the digital age.

I haven’t used a macro much, but here’s part of the sticker on one of my favourite Magic Hat beers…

mmmm Magic Hat beer, fresh from Vermont

I also too a few photos of the cats we have here, and the good ol’ National Geographic world map.

where I live right now

Thanksgiving

I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving in beautiful Vermont, with much food and drink, and excellent company. We drove up Wednesday night, with old episodes of the Muppet show to keep us entertained. We didn’t get up until around midday the next day, as the house had a pool table. We did a small amount of exercise, going to a nearby waterfall.

looks cold…

I didn’t have much to do with meal preparation, but by dinner time a wonderful spread appeared. Though Steve made a good effort, there were many leftovers. There probaby still are…

Friday was a planned ski day, but copious rain and cold the day before made it a crappy option. We walked into Warren instead, since we had our warm gear on. Snowballs were thrown…

icicles

Saturday and Sunday I spent in concentrated effort trying to remember how to ride a snowboard. I had some success, if my inability to walk properly today is any indication. The conditions were typical for early season New England: not really enough snow to open, but going ahead and doing it anyway. Never before have I ridden over grass and small trees poking up through snow.

Despite ice, rock, and small tree issues, the setting is amazing, with ice covered trees lining the edges of the trails, and the beautiful views of the surrounding hills that accompany each chair ride (along with snow being blown in my face, another New England tradition I believe).

frozen lake near the house

We came back tired, relaxed, and unable to comprehend what the new week would bring back in the city. Cheers!

The rest of the photos are here.

Addiction

Ok dudes, I think I need help…

I’m totally addicted, to cheese. Not just any type of cheese, but what is known here as ‘jack’, or pepperjack cheese. To be specific, there is a habanero cheese my local foodmaster sells that I eat waaaay to much of. I’ve never encountered such a food before, who would have thought that there would be a cheese that goes with beer..? It can also come in burgers, which is another problem altogether…

More visitors

I’ve now had my second set of visitors. Nick and Michele of “Nick and Michele’s wedding“, and “Road Tripping through Georgia” fame came up to search for a place to live. They found a nice place to live in the South End, and we celebrated by going to the nearest gay bar and having a beer. We got table service, but had to pay for our three beers right away. Weird. We went along the road to a more “informal” place for another few, before going up to Redbones for meat.

Other weekend highlights included walking along the Charles, and breakfast at the Neighbourhood restaurant. Thanks for a cool weekend guys!

God bless America

God has indeed blessed America, clearly humans are helpless to do anything to influence their surroundings by themselves. Gratitude for said blessing manifests itself in many ways, the most conspicuous of which can be seen below. There are probably others, but this one appealed to me more than the multitude of churches this wonderful country harbours.

god bless pizza boxes and all they contain

There are many things that god has blessed this country with. Here are a few personal highlights:

One of my favourites is the ability to get a huge piece of meat in a burger pretty much anywhere I go, I think I’m addicted. In a totally unrelated matter, there are tonnes of micro-breweries that allow one to get good beer, which may sometimes be a precursor to the aforementioned chunks of meat.

I like that my local supermarket (known as “Johnnies Foodmaster”) has that nice Barillia pasta for about $1 a packet.

I can watch baseball anytime I like. The Red Sox play pretty much every day, and NESN shows previous games even when they’re not. Thank you lord.

Despite my preconceptions of the locals, people generally think pre-emtive strikes are a bad idea. Driving through Southwest Harbour in Maine there were a bunch of people by the side of the road with signs saying things like “join us if you are concerned about the war in Iraq”. I didn’t even though I am concerned. I had some hills to climb and views to see. Anyway, very non-confrontational, and an interesting thing to see on a Saturday morning in rural America.

There are lots of cool places to visit from my base here in Boston, I have the aim of visiting a new state for each month I’m here. Other countries and their states count. So far I’m on track, ticking off Georgia, Maine and New Hampsire in the three months to date.

It’s green, and the trees aren’t all eucalyptus.

It’s old, not Europe old, but older than I’m used to nevertheless. This doesn’t have much to do with being blessed by god but I like it anway.

I really do like burgers.

Amen.

banana cake

After my dodgeball injury I thought I should take it easy for a day. It hasn’t been sunny enough to take it easy in my hammock, so I’ve watched cricket and baked banana cake instead. There’s nothing special about this particular recipe, but the results are rather tasty.

Banana cake

200g butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 or so old bananas
3 cups self raising flour
some milk

Pre-heat oven to 160ish. Melt the butter a bit in the microwave and mix well with the sugar, then mix in the eggs. Mash the bananas in another bowl and then mix into butter mixture. Mix flour in gradually, adding milk to keep un-dough like if necessary. Pour out into greased baking tins and bake for about about half an hour, or until done.

marmalade

I have succesfully made my first ever batch of marmalade! It did have to be boiled up twice, with extra lemons added the second time to give it some solidity (thanks Jo). Sunny did ask something like ‘what the hell is that?’ as I was spreading it on my bread with peanut butter, and I must admit it isn’t the best looking stuff ever. It seems to have gone all cloudy, partly due to the extra lemons, which were put in the blender.

But never mind, the taste is excellent, the key may be soaking the fruit in water overnight first before boiling it up. Aparrently this gives it the slightly bitter taste, which is lovely. Next time I’ll look into getting seville oranges or something, rather than the month old ones that were going to be chucked out if I didn’t cook them. I’ve put Jo’s recipe, which I used, below:

Seville marmalade

3 seville oranges = 3.5 lb
1.5 pint water (900ml)
2 lb sugar (500g)
half pint lemon juice (300ml)

Cut oranges in half and take out pips (soak pips in 1/2 pint water).
Slice oranges and put in 1 pint water and soak for 24 hours (this gives it the bitter taste).

The next day take sliced oranges in their water with lemon juice and water strained from the pips and boil in pressure cooker for 15 minutes. Then take lid off pressure cooker and add sugar. Boil till set (ie. if you take some out and leave it on a spoon it should set).

spatula!

i can now say i have the ultimate cooking utensil! i can’t remember the official name of it, but it’s incredible. it’s like the old rubber spatula one uses for cleaning out jars and stuff, but double ended and more streamlined. it’s also heatproof enough to use on a frying pan and stuff. it’s the way of the future…