Sunday, 11 June 2017

A Blast from the Past

First of all welcome to my new followers Patricia and Felicity, and a belated welcome to Faye.

When I was poking about in one of the op shops in town I came across this magazine and it made me smile.  It was only 10 cents so I had to buy it (It still had the tissue patterns inside!).  I remember my Mum and both Grans having this magazine,  I finally got to flick through it and it was fascinating reading, things have changed,  yet are the same!

I was taken back in time, not by the dress styles,  I don’t remember the fitted styles in this magazine my dresses were more of a gathered skirt and a bow to tie at the waist.  But then I am thinking of the late fifties and early sixties.
I was fascinated with the advertisements. Didn’t they have slim waists then!  No wonder there were lots of ads for weight loss fixes!

Obviously weight was an issue even then; there were at least 6 ads for losing weight, and about also 5 for nervous tension depression etc.  Things haven’t changed!

My mum always had a tin of this in the cupboard, now I know why!

The ad above, is the one that cracked me up the most.  It shows how ideas have changed.  In fact the whole tone was that women were to look after and cherish their men feed him well and he will be happy with you.  This was particularly so in the letters to the agony Aunt, to the extent that the adice given to one poor lady was that it was her fault that her husband went out every night partying refusing to take her.  Oh how times have changed, in fact I think the opposite is true nowadays.  Inst it strange how we humans throw out the baby with the bath water?

I am positive that I had a cardi just like this, it was red with white hearts.

On an end note, another bit of nostalgia, here is a picture of me (in the middle) on my 8th birthday, the doll was a present from my Gran, I wasn’t particularly happy with it as I wanted a bike!

Todays 5 Blessings,

 Sunshine and no frost!
A load of washing done
Phone call from my sister who lives in Aussie (she’s the one holding the small doll.)
Was able to get an hour’s gardening done and noticed that there are still some passion fruit on the vine!!

Thanks for visiting and will see you soon.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Looking into June

Where did May go?  Only three days left and June sails in with its cold wet wintry days.  I think it has been practicing this last week as it has been wet and cold. 

taken this afternoon from the dining room,
yes I know the grass needs cutting!
 But it is not all misery, I love winter as we are able to snug up in our nests and look out at the grey wet landscape and dream plans, crochet, read or knit without feeling we should be gardening.  We can make great steaming bowls of soups and stew, or sit on the sofa flipping through our cookbooks, dreaming of wonderful recipes, if only we had the ingredients.  Yes I admit I am bit of a foodie, I have spats of experimenting with different foods and then fall back into my tried and true recipes.  I love the produce of winter, great bowls filled with apples, pears, oranges, mandarins, persimmons, feijoas, kiwifruit, and of course lemons.

Vegetables also are different from summer, leeks, onions, carrots, parsnips, swede, silver beet, cauliflower, cabbage and kale and all the different types of pumpkin.

Vegetables gathered yesterday from my garden
Talking of vegetables, I need to eat more of them!  I buy or pick them and then have to throw half of them in the compost.  So my goal for June is to eat more vegetables, no more cleaning my vegetable bin out and finding rather limp bits of cauliflower, mushy somethings and sprouted onions and potatoes!  Well that is what I found this morning when I cleaned both my fridge bin and the bin I have in the kitchen for root vegetables.  I took the worst out to the compost bin and made a nourishing soup for my lunch.

I have decided to change my budget period which was fortnightly as that matches paydays to monthly.  I have been finding that there were a lot of food items I need to only buy monthly, such as butter, cheese, cereals, sauces, flours and so on.  I have also reduced the amount as I was having quite a lot of money left over.  So now it is $160 a month instead of $200.  We will see how that goes.  I have friends that can’t believe I lived on $200, so I think I will keep quiet about the $160, lol!  Well one friend has already forbidden me to mention how much I spend in front of her husband!  They know that I eat well from our conversations about meals.

Satay chicken pieces with salad,
the greens from my garden
What I think the difference is that I cook from scratch and have healthy stores; also I grow some of my vegetables, mainly greens this year.  They don’t.  When I suggest that they make from scratch they say that they haven’t the time or roll their eyes.  I do have convenience food in my stores, and homemade ready meals in my freezer for those times when I am not well or too tired to cook, but it is the exception rather than the rule.  I am afraid there is not a lot of commonsense in the world today. 

Also in June I want to do more of my journal pages, I only did one in May; I have taken to painting on old dried teabags using the tea stains to suggest the topic.

I then will use them in my Art Journal like this one below I did last week.  I think the teabag for that one was peach and strawberry herb tea!

I am not sure if this one is finished, we will see.  I am going to give myself a goal of doing one a week!

My crochet lately has been a bit boring, I am making beanies for the Vanuatu men that come over to work in the vineyards and orchards over the winter, there is a group that comes to our church, they don’t speak much English and send all their money back to their families, it is such a poor group of islands that has been hit by some disastrous cyclones in recent years.  They will be arriving next week and will be so cold coming here from a tropical climate.  We look forward to having them in our church as they have such wonderful singing voices and sing with such gusto that it sends chills down your spine.

Haven’t I been rambling on!  It is getting dark and I am starting to wonder about supper, more soup or crumbed fish with coconut rice……

Well, anyways what have you planned for June?

Bye for now
and the Kitties who have the right idea!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Reflections on a Sunday Afternoon.

Here is a question – how do you use your store cupboard?  Why I ask is that in my autumn fervour I have squirrelled enough food away to sink a ship!!  I kid you not. I cannot get any more food in, so several days ago I decided to organise them better and take an inventory.  I had lost track of what I had and there were some amazing collections, for example, lots of tins of chick peas, but only one of kidney beans and no pinto beans.  Taking myself in hand I decided to have only two of each in my store cupboard and the rest would have to go up into the top cupboards (which I need a step ladder to reach). It has made the cupboard more usable, now it remains to be seen whether I remember I have got a lot of food stashed up there!  My freezer is choc a block as well, I reckon I have enough food with the exception of perishables stashed away to last me several months.

Ambrose with my grape harvest which I made into grape cordial
So the question is how do I use this bounty?  Do I live off my stores for a while, or do replace what I use as I consume.  I had thought of living off the stores and saving my budget, but I am already saving money each payday and I don’t have any real needs at the moment and I have a healthy rainy day account. 
People might come into my home and say you need a new lounge suite or whatever, but my stuff is comfortable and cosy.  I can’t see the point of buying something just because what you have is old.  I am of the school if it is not broke keep it. And then I am likely to say I wonder if I can fix it!

So it looks like I will use and replace.  However I wonder whether I need as much as I have.  Most of the emergencies we have had here in NZ (earthquakes and floods) people have been evacuated from their homes, and I can’t imagine the emergency services calmly waiting while you empty out your cupboards, lol!  Although, this amount would be useful if there was a massive worldwide financial crisis and the banks failed. It could happen! (Maybe I had better start stashing money away in my mattress, lol.

So I would like to hear about how you use your store cupboard

Today, I went to the Market and brought the above collection of fruit and veg. leeks, spring onions, celery, mushrooms, baby carrots, butternut pumpkin and a huge bag of feijoas (pineapple guava), all for $10. It was a lovely little outing, a bit chilly but the sun was shining the trees and gardens lovely, the sound of crackling leaves as I passed over them lovely. 

I have been working a lot in the garden, who says spring is the busiest month!  We have had so much rain this autumn and quite a few floods as well.  My back garden has a spot where it seems to have a high water table and the last few years it seems to flood every time we have a heavy down pour and it is where my veg patch is!  So I have decide to move the veggie patch next to the house and put the existing one to grass and flowers.  Makes sense as then I won’t have to trudge down the back to pick veggies on wet blustery days and the soil near the house is wonderful far better than the existing garden.  A friend dropped of some old carpet which we have laid where I want the new vegetable beds, over the winter the weedy grass will die and compost and then it will be ready for digging in late winter.  I will have to move some of the existing flowering plants but will wait till flowering has finished, these two shows how mild this autumn has been.


Naked  Ladies, cant believe they are still flowering
I was going to talk about food but the afternoon is ticking away and I want to sit in the sun for a bit!  So I will leave that for another post so bye for now and thanks for visiting.

PS I saw this the other day and it struck a chord with me!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Comfort Food

There are just some days you need to fall back on the comfort of food from your past.  It nourishes you, and makes you feel that you can face whatever life throws your way.  One of the dishes that I turn to is a dish from my childhood Macaroni Cheese, not any Macaroni Cheese, the one that my Mum used to make.  She used to put lots of interesting bits in, always halved boiled eggs, mixed vegies, ham or salami, tomato, cauliflower or any leftover vegetables.  The top was always crunchy and the sauce very cheesy.

I am very old fashioned and make my cheese sauce the old fashioned way, if you prefer another quicker method do so.  I made enough for 3 to 4 servings.

Cheese Sauce


50 gm butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1-2 cups grated cheese
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups of macaroni elbows
Additions of choice – I used sliced biersticks, cauliflower, 1 small leek, 2 boiled eggs , slices of tomato, breadcrumbs.


Melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour and cook for a minute or so till starting to form a ball.  Add mustard.  Gradually add milk stirring to make the sauce smooth with each addition,  Cook till sauce boils, add Worcestershire Sauce and grated cheese, keep some aside to sprinkle on top.  Season.

While sauce is cooking cook macaroni and vegies, (I add the cauliflower and leek to the mac water).  Slice the sausage and cut eggs in half.  When cooked put pasta and additions in baking dishes.  Pour the sauce over and put sliced tomato on top with some grated cheese and breadcrumbs.  Cook at 170 Celsius till brown and bubbling usually 20 - 30 minutes.  Serve with a green vegetable.

This was enough for me to have one helping straight away and one the next day and rest I froze for another meal in the future.

As always if I am using the oven I cook something else to save on power.  I decided to keep with food from my childhood.  This cake was for special occasions and it always greeted us when we visited my grandmother during the school holidays.

Gugelhopf kiwi style

This cake is my grandmother’s version of her German mother-in-law's recipe.  My great grandmother originally used yeast and sultanas and currants.  Over the years the fruit varied but a favourite variation was prunes or prunes and dried apricots.  Today, I’ve used my favourite, prunes and apricots.


3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
cold tea or water
170 grams butter
170 grams sugar
2 large eggs
225 grams flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
125ml runny yoghurt or milk.


Cover the dried fruit with the cold tea or water leave for a few hours. Drain.
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add eggs and beat till well mixed if it curdles don’t worry. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and yoghurt or milk.  Using yoghurt makes the cake moist.
Finally add the drained fruit.
Sugar Mix -Mix separately 110 grams brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and 1tsp cinnamon.  Place a third of the cake mix in greased 25 cm ring tin or Kugelhopf tin, sprinkle with a third of sugar mix and repeat twice.  Bake at 170 C for 45 - 60 mins (I find it takes 60 minutes in my Kugelhopf tin) or until a skewer comes out clean.

This cake can be eaten plain or for special occasions a lemon icing drizzled over it is scrumptious!

Gugelhopf is sometimes called Kugelhopf depends where you are from.  It is originally from the Alsace area but many European countries have a version.  It also can be sweet or savoury. I have made the yeasted version and it is very nice but like a lot of yeast cakes it has to be eaten on the day.  The version above stays moist for quite a while.

The weather is at last showing signings that winter is coming and the trees are starting to loose their leaves, the pavements are covered in leaves and there is nothing so comforting or fun as wading through them an d hearin g the crackle of the leaves.

Even the evening sky is golden!

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Anzac Day

Today is Anzac Day a sacred national holiday in New Zealand and Australia. Everything is closed by law. Both countries commemorate the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey during the 1st World War.  Both countries lost so many young men that there was a generation of women who never married or were left widows with young children.  In modern times it has come to represent the futility of all wars.  Every town in New Zealand land has a dawn ceremony where the last post is played at the war memorial.  It is also a rite of passage for young New Zealanders and Australians to go to Anzac Cove in Turkey and take part in the dawn ceremony there.  I have done it and it wasn’t really until then standing in the place where so many young men were slaughtered that it hit me how wasteful war is.

The Last Post - click on image to read

So, this post is is commemorate those young men, and a generation that never happened.  In particular, my grandfather’s (he was fortunate that he was too young to go to war) four brothers and my grandmother lost all of her brothers – five.

You are never forgotten.

On a lighter note,  Gallipoli produced a national icon, Anzac biscuits! The soldiers were sent tins of these biscuits from their families during the war.

Here is the recipe:

The Story of Gallipoli

For nine months in 1915, British and French forces battled the Ottoman Empire - modern Turkey - for control of the Gallipoli peninsula, a small finger of Europe jutting into the Aegean Sea that dominates a strategic waterway, the Dardanelles. By opening the Dardanelles to their fleets, the Allies hoped to threaten the Ottoman capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul) and knock the Turks out of the war.

Among the British forces were the Anzacs - the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps - who landed on the peninsula on 25 April. The landing, like the Gallipoli campaign itself, was ambitious and ultimately unsuccessful: the peninsula remained in its defenders' hands.
The campaign was a costly failure for the Allies: 44,000 British and French soldiers died, including over 8700 Australians. Among the dead were 2721 New Zealanders nearly 5000 wounded out of a force of approx. 8500 – while that may not sound a lot compared to other nations, NZ pop was less than a million. Victory came at a high price for the Turks: 87,000 men died in the campaign which became a defining moment in Turkish history.

It was also a defining moment in New Zealand’s and Australian history, we started to draw away from Britain and become nations in our own right.  For the three nations Anzac Cove where the Anzacs landed has been made a Peace Park by the Turks and the three Nations every year send government members to the remembrance service at the cove.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


As I mentioned in my last post I now have a mobility Scooter, I had been saving up for one when I was blessed with a windfall.  I might have mentioned that I lived in the UK for 20 years, when I applied for my NZ pension last year I was told that as I lived in the UK part of my pension would be paid by the UK govt as there was a reciprocal agreement, it is administered by the NZ govt so I thought nothing of it, but I did have to fill out lots of forms for the UK.  Well apparently the pension for UK women is 60 years and as I no idea that I qualified for it, I had a rather large amount, deferred. (5 years of back pay)  Whoo hoo!  I was a bit skeptical and was astonished when it turned up in bank account.  It has made such a difference to my life.  As well as investing some of it I have been able to buy things that I needed such as the scooter, a new fridge freezer,  new glasses and a new sewing machine, it has taken a load of my shoulders.

The scooter has blessed me so much, I have been able to make medical appointments without having to try and fit times in with the bus timetable and the biggest blessing is I have been able to shop around for bargains, and most of all go to the local market on Sundays, which is what this post is really about.
My town has two markets, an official Farmers Market on Saturdays, which really caters for the well to do and the weekend visitors that come here from Wellington, it is rather expensive and has posh stuff! Also as I observe the Sabbath it is a ‘no no’ for me. 

The other, really is a glorified Car Boot market run by the Lions organization in the council car park, locals flock to it as a number of lifestyle blockers sell their produce at reasonable prices and generally it is organic produce, there is a honey man, a free range egg lady, a lady selling mushrooms, several local nurseries two selling native plants, one lady selling perennial flowers, a couple of vegetable and flower seedling stalls, some ladies selling pickles and preserves and cakes, then there are the usual bric a brac stalls.  I love it, you get to know the people selling and they sort of become friends, it is wonderful.

This Sunday I took advantage of the good weather and set off on my Scooter, I hadn’t been to it for over a year as it was difficult for me to get to and one needs to get there early for the bargains!  And bargains I did get.

A big bag of figs for $2.50,  Ballarat (cooking) Apples, a heritage variety that makes the perfect apple pie, you cant buy these in the supermarket, But I got 5 for $1.50, a large wedge of pumpkin for $2, egg plants at 50 cents each they are at least $2.50 in the supermarkets.

A huge bunch of watercress for $2.50, I will put half in a bucket and put the bucket under the eaves and if change the water every week I will have my own watercress growing.

A large bag of button chestnut mushrooms for $2 in the supermarket probably cost me about $8.00!

Lovely bargains and it all is organic which is even more of a bonus!  I got some plants as well, a red hibiscus, a pink Japanese anemone, and a red and white ivy geranium; all for $10 at the nursery just one would have cost me at least $10.  I will shoe photos of these later as my batteries for the camera needed recharging.  I am going to have to start taking my camera with me when I am out and about as the town is looking lovely with its red and gold autumn colours.

So I think the scooter is a blessing in my life.  Another blessing is the new sewing machine,  it has made me realize how crappy my old one was, no wondered I put off sewing!  For a long time I had been wanting to change the curtains in my lounge diner, but as there were so many windows it would have cost a fortune for ready made ones and thrift shops don’t usually have curtains for three windows in the same material.  So guess what my first project was…

It has lightened up the place wonderfully, I have a feature wall in that red and having the red has balanced up the area very well.

And as you know once you start changing the colour scheme other things start to occur, like this throw I am crocheting for the lounge area…

What is marvellous I already had this wool in my stash!

Phew, I am so ready for my supper now!  I am having what I call stone soup, do you know the folk tale behind this?  If not I will tell all in the next day or so and hopefully I will have photos of my neighbourhood, as I am charging the batteries of my camera.

Sunday, 16 April 2017


I hope you all are having a peaceful Easter, I am!  Sorry, I haven’t posted for a while, life got in the way.  I have had some health issues and they are being sorted (Thyroid problems).  I just have to be patient. LOL! I have been visiting your blogs but haven’t been leaving comments as my brain has been somewhat foggy!  Over the last week I have noticed a big improvement, so fingers crossed.

 Also I have been thinking about blogging and all that it entails.  I don’t seem to be able to blog consistently and that set me thinking about why I want to blog and what sort of blog I want.  Do I want it as a daily or weekly diary, or do I want to write about my passions and interests, so I have been pondering and one thing I do know is that I like writing, I thought about the blogs I like to read and they are the ones about daily life and living in this world simply.  I think I know where I got stuck.  I have been trying to have a cohesive image to my blog, well that is not me!  I am a bit scatty and my brain leaps all over the place, I go off in tangents in conversations.  I admire people who can keep to topic, but I seem to be incapable of doing so.  They say that for a blog to be real, it has to reflect the person writing it.

So my dear friends, you will be seeing a blog that may be about cooking one day, the next day about my thoughts on the world, then again it might be about my art or crafts, my garden, or practising thrift.  I might blog every day for a while and then again I might not blog for a bit.

This weekend, I have no visitors for once and I have had time to myself to do some art which is a great joy for me as I haven’t picked up my art materials for a long time.  This piece is a pastel in which I digitally added the text.

Another bit of news is that I now have a mobility scooter and it has changed my life!  I will blog about that later on.  Also my budgeting was successful for March and ended with a big surplus, so I decided to keep the amount at $50 a week put the surpluses into a sealed pot for Christmas treats.

Have a wonderful Easter (or what is left of it)