Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fruity Pork Curry (at last)

I'm back from the road show...and here at last, is my favourite curry - elegant and rich, tasty in the extreme.

I'll put the measurings in "old fashioned" so that hopefully it will make it easier to follow!

1 tbspn sunflower oil
1 oz unsalted butter
2 and 1/4 diced, lean pork
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes
8 fl oz chicken stock
1 stick cinnamon (quill)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tspn ground coriander ( I grind mine fresh from the seeds but you can buy it already ground)
2 tspn curry powder
1 oz soaked dried apricots, sliced
1 oz figs, soaked and sliced (I use more because I love the taste and feel of the figs in this dish)
3 bananas, sliced ( I use green ones)
1 tbspn mango chutney
4 tbspn single cream
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil and half the butter in a heavy saucepan and brown the meat in batches. Remove the browned meat from the pan. Add the remaining butter to the pan, add onion and cook until softened. Stir in the garlic, return the meat to the pan. Halve the tomatoes and grate each half directly into the pan, discarding the skins. Add the stock and spices and bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes or until very tender. Stir occasionally and about half way thru add the figs, apricots and mango chutney. Once the meat is tender, stir in the cream and lemon juice.
Season to taste and garnish with coriander leaves.

This is wonderful served with coconut rice.

I'd be pleased to know how any of you found this dish, I'm sure you won't regret it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On the road again...

Am away to Timaru later today. Yawn. I am sooo over this travelling and it has started to rain so that will make the trip even more odious! Timaru is only about a 2 hour drive south from here, and we have our training session at 8.30 in the morning hence travelling today - no way was I getting outta the scratcher at 5am!!

Took the kids to the Armageddon Expo earlier today - they were thrilled; comics, games, famous people...and I stayed up too late last night yapping and drinking with my older brother who I hadn't seen for a couple of months. It was cool.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Have you ever read a book...

Have you ever read a book that really gives you shivers, that you wish you had written yourself, that is soo good you hesitate to turn that last page?

For one more day is such a book for me today. "I saw in her expression that old, unshakeable mountain of concern. And I realised when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know" - wonderful. But then again, I'm lucky to have a mother who I know this is true of. Fantastic sad but hopeful book, and I'm not sure if it means more to me because I am a mother myself or because I am a half-orphan and my mother is so very precious to me and my daughters.

I had to get up very early today (well, early for me that is) and drive in the pouring rain to Ashburton to conduct some Drug and Alcohol training for our delegates. Before I leave on any trip that takes me out of the city I leave a wee note in the kids lunchboxes, and also draw love hearts and a message on the family whiteboard. The mother in "For one more day" also did that for her children - I found it hard to keep back tears during some of this book. I love it when a book can move me so. It is grounding and inspirational, it was a snuggle under the blankets on a cold day. I didn't want it to end.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Two words to strike fear into your hearts...

School holidays. And the kids aren't happy to be going to a holiday programme - hey but its with drama, craft and dance I say weakly. I remember as a child that school holidays went on forever - making stuff and baking, endless supply of "butchers paper" for art work...my poor mother!! The Stud and I usually take a few days off each to give the kids an idea of what holidays are like for those kids with a stay-at-home parent but can you believe it, I actually FORGOT to do that this time. I have been on autopilot with work for obviously far too long. And the wee 'uns suffer. They'll have fun tho....won't they??

Had a great sunny day here, got some gardening done. The decimated lavender better look good when it grows back. The scone-grabbers have been calling me Mrs Scissorhands after my valiant efforts to tame the stuff.
OK, am off to the couch for the weekly dose of the Seven Ages of Rock. This week its heavy metal - I'm still not convinved that's really "music".

Monday, April 14, 2008

Much better thanks!

Oh what a difference a day makes!! From the above (and no, that's not my eye but you get the drift!!).....
To this. I can see clearly now, the pain has gone....

Crikey, so much for older and wiser. Frankly I think the older one gets, the older one gets. That's it. No mystery. No magic wand of wisdom.

Oddly, work got in the way of an otherwise idyllic day. A group of workers got gassed by chlorine vapours - members of our Union. Luckily no-one was killed but they are rather unwell. Am hoping for a full if not speedy recovery for all involved.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

8 Facts on the morning after the night before

Fact 1: I had a great weekend.

Fact 2: I had too much wine.

Fact 3: People who know me won't be surprised at Fact 2.

Fact 4: I am old enough to know that if you go bed at 4am the rest of the day is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

Fact 5: The kids don't have any consideration for Fact 4.

Fact 6: I can't have drunk enough last night if I am still thirsty today.

Fact 7: I had forgotten that Pixie also doesn't know how to say "No, no more for me thanks".

Fact 8: I am old enough to know better, young enough to have done it anyway.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it...

Yes indeed, I'm about to loose control and I think I'll like it! My dear ol' school friend, Pixie, is coming to stay for the weekend. I'm going to dig out our old photos from school and the intervening years where our paths have criss-crossed, there will be corks popping and jaws dropping. It will be grand.
So, crowds of Christchurch - you better watch out! The Sag and The Pixie are on the loose.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Naughty carrots

Much merriment in our house when we pulled these two outta the ground ( and yes, am well aware of the puns there!!). Well, what can you say?
Seen too much of this lately, another plane another place....had a great time doing the training.
Alliance Group Ltd's meat plant at Mataura. Interesting wee place and original home of one of New Zealand's Golden Sons - Justin Marshall. Mind you, it is the kind of sleepy hollow that is easy to blink and miss. It was a gloriously sunny day this day however, even tho' it started off very foggy and chilly. Really reminded me of that Barbra Streisand movie "On a clear day you can see forever"....as you can see by the photo below.... This photo is what the end of our country looks like, next stop Antarctica! Rather bleak look out but the seafood from these parts is fan-bloody-tastic. So fresh and succlent, everything is so clear as well. Standing there is almost like being on the bow of a big ship - say the Titanic?? but without the same disastrous result! You know the feeling, like you could step over the edge.
When I finally got home, the first thing that greeted me as I drove up was this wonderful rose bush in full glory - it is named El Dorado and I'm amazed it is still blooming so well as we are getting closer to autumn with each popping wine cork. Yes, I know, most wine bottles these days have screw caps (now now OC, don't start...) but to be honest I reckon you can't beat that glorious pop that goes with a cork being extracated!

I'll be putting up the Fruity Pork Curry recipe shortly, be warned to be stunnned more than you would by this....

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The weekend that was

I have had a great weekend. There. I've said it and no mistake.
For starters it was wonderful to be in my own scratcher for more than two nights in a row; could have done without the kids yowling at each other but there y'go - gotta take the rough with the smooth.

Friday night we had a dear friend over for dinner and I made a delicious Fruity Pork Curry (thats with figs, bananas and apricots in it OC before you get all excited!!); we had great chit chat and vino and toddled off to bed at the respectable hour of around midnight - or thereabouts. If anyone is interested in my curry recipe let me know and I'll post it. It's a bit fiddly but very delicious.

Saturday I took the Scowly Teen to the library, and yes brought her home again. I am a slow learner. However, moving right along.
Then we went and got some DVDs for the evening since there is so much doodoo on TV anyway and there was no rugby. We settled Pirates of the Caribbean at worlds end for us and the kids got Marie Antoinette. Then we had a visit from a friend who seemed a bit lost and out of sorts. So, for dinner the kids had chicken kiev (cooked by aforementioned Scowly Teen) and the grownups had Venison. And a bit more vino.

Today was a lazy start owing to daylight saving ending. Any excuse for that last 10 minutes in the scratcher. Actually, as it turned out I was the first one up and about and had a glorious half hour with no music, no TV, no kids, no Stud - just me and my cuppa tea and my book! Heaven.

Tomorrow I am away again for another few days of living it up in hotels with my bed being made for me, my meals all prepared, cooked and rpesented to me, and no dishes for me to do either. It's hell but someone has to do it. See y'all again later in the week whereby I may regale you with the excitement that is known as Travel To Invercargill and Gore - I can almost hear those banjoes.... plunkety plunk...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Morning sunrise

My 10 year old says this is like the sky in Gallifrey.

This is actually our sky this morning from our back deck. Beautiful.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

As a matter of fact...I'm BACK!

What a trip. It has been exhausting and great fun. Good ol' blogger has of course put the photos in the order THEY wanted them and not the order I wanted them. So. Here we are, sort of backwards! Above is a fireplace at the Homestead that we held one of our training courses this week. Isn't it grand?
Here is some of the finer detail, very ornate and must have taken ages to complete. It was a fantastic place and also doubles as a tea house. Now, if I had gotten round to doing the 7 odd things about me blog you would know that I lOVE tea. From plain ol' gumboot tea to Chinese Gunpowder tea, I'm in! They had even gone to the trouble of using old china tea cups and saucers such as we would find in second hand shops, luxury for the tea-vibe within me. So dainty and gives a better taste to the tea, in my humble opinion. As luck would have it, Peter and Dianne had the tea for me. Go to the site and have a browse.
This here is what greeted me at 8am on a Wednesday morning in Balclutha. Very foggy and chilly but soooo beautiful. In the photo below you can just make out the bridge that I took this photo (above) of.
Above is a (bad) photo of Balclutha from the air. Small town NZ doesn't get more genunine than this. Great people, down to earth and genuine. We had a great start to our training in this place.
This is the facade of the hotel I stayed at in Dunedin. Very pretty place and they left a note in my room ready for my arrival, saying how pleased they were to have me stay. How sweet. I was almost expecting a note saying how pleased they were that I was moving on, but thats another story!!

Now this photo is of one of the ceilings in the abovementioned homestead. Just breathtaking. Under all this of course, we delivered world class training on Drugs and Alcohol in the workplace, on bullying and harassment and general disciplinary issues. It's been hard being away from home, the girls seemed to miss me and I am sure I have put on too much weight from all the meals cooked by chefs! I have been pampered beyond what I should and I don't regret it at all. I have really missed the access to all your lovely blogs and send my apologies to those I usaully frequent (ok, so you didn't notice I was gone....)
Next blog, well I may have to babble on about the lack of information about the Free Trade Agreement our Government is signing next week with China. How come we don't know what's in the agreement? WTF?