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Posts tagged ‘Recipes’

Application of herbs

“The rosemary’s just taken off in the last couple of weeks!” I enthused to our landlady this morning. “Here, come take a look.”

I was eager to show off my fledgling gardening skills. Since Landlady actually planted it, ‘skills’ in this case refer to a) Not Killing It; b) the thriving of rosemary in my vicinity; and c) the identification/cataloguing thereof.

I need a lot of reassurance when it comes to gardening.

Landlady initially made all the right noises when presented with the burgeoning bush. “Wow!” she said. “It’s . . . very . . . that’s funny . . . I don’t remember . . . is that . . . are you sure that’s rosemary?”

“Oh yes, uh-huh, I believe so,” I asserted confidently. “I used it to make rosemary flatbread last night. Andrew said it was EVEN BETTER than my garlic flatbread.”

Um, so, well, it appears it might in fact have been, er.

Lavender flatbread.

Flashback to the 1970s

Husband aspires to a style of dining that could be described as ‘fine’. He treats mealtimes as if he were in a top class restaurant.

“Right, may I have . . . let me see . . . lamb chops with a balsamic reduction, potatoes au gratin, with a side serving of braised asparagus, and for dessert maybe some baked Alaska, or chocolate truffle pudding would be acceptable.”

“No. The choice is cheese on toast.”



Seriously, I enjoy cooking and make an effort to feed us well. I would be MORTIFIED if Husband were to succumb to malnourishment. Therefore I keep the fridge well stocked with all sorts of yumminess: shredded chicken, shaved ham, smoked salmon, bacon, eggs, a variety of cheeses, pickles, chutneys. I make him honey toasted muesli for breakfast, and ensure he always has spare rations. I prepare dinners carefully balanced with the optimal blend of carbs and protein.

Since it is easy to revert to potatoes, salad, and whatever form of protein happens to be wandering around the freezer, I try to be adventurous within Husband’s tolerance levels. I avoid foodstuffs Husband spits out (anchovies; mushrooms; olives; vegetables in large, concentrated quantities; artichokes) and am selective about ingredients that make him retch depending on his humour and barometric pressure (rice and pasta).

Yet we still have conversations like the following:-

Husband: What is this? <prodding with finger>

Me: Peppered fish with zesty lime salsa. Mmm.

Husband: Meh.

Me: How much do you want?

Husband: None. I’ll just go hungry. *sigh!*



A hard day’s work

I’ve considered setting up a blog for some time, especially after my monthly email list hit the 30 mark. Although the idea is appealing, the reality is that I’m an irregular writer who spends more time trying to locate her wasted muse than writing. It will be interesting and/or depressing to see whether I can muster the discipline to post daily.

Ok, let’s not be too ambitious: weekly.

One problem is that, now that Husband and I have settled into Turanga Road, we rarely leave the house. My working day looks roughly like this:-

08:00 Get up

08:01 Shower

08:15 Chew on Husband’s ear a while

08:20 Turn on coffee machine

08:27 Open garage door and walk down the driveway to check post

09:00 Go to office to Write

09:01 Check email, write responses to incoming

09:40 Pick fingernails

10:20 Look up waffle irons on Trademe

11:09 Read new threads on discussion board

11:55 Research (MacGyver on Wikipedia)

12:04 Secondary research (methods for defusing nuclear warheads, the melting point of iron, Clayton County, entomophagy, online radio stations, balloon fetishes, symptoms of anaemia, the Piri Reis map, pictures of facial boils, Gothic cemetery art, squirrel hazing)

12:30 Is it lunchtime already?

13:10 Digesting

15:00 Go to office to Write

15:01 Return to kitchen to make coffee

15:15 Go to office to Write

15:16 Think up excuse for not Writing

15:20 Return to living room to rearrange sofa cushions

15:30 Go to office to Write

15:31 Check out the time in Adelaide, Ireland, Albania, London, Spain, Dubai, Jordan and Auckland

15:39 Definitions of the word ‘harrow’ on

15:50 Look up exchange rates: US$ to NZ$, AED to NZ$, Euro to NZ$, Euro to US$

16:30 Go to kitchen, look in fridge

16:47 Return to office, look up recipes including ingredients: red cabbage, dark chocolate, blue cheese, crackers, sherry

17:00 And we’ll call that a Hard Day’s Work

Niamh’s top secret mulled wine recipe

Given that we’re coming up to Christmas, I have been refining my mulled wine brew. In case you are stuck, following is a recipe that combines just the right amount of taste sensation with head explosion. I hope you enjoy it:-

Niamh’s top secret mulled wine recipe


1 x bottle red wine

500ml port

500ml fruity herbal tea (eg blackcurrant/lemon/raspberry tea) or cranberry juice

1 x lemon, cut into slices or wedges

1 x grapefruit or orange, cut into slices or wedges

3 x 3inch long cinnamon sticks

12-16 whole cloves

Small pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)

1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2-1 teaspoon secret ingredient

Add sugar to taste


Put a large saucepan over a low heat and pour in the red wine and port. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Or not, you know, like, whatever. Just get everything in the saucepan, add sugar, stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer indefinitely. Keep a lid on it or the alcohol will evaporate. Drink. Take off clothes. Dance around living room in the nip

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