Sunday, September 25, 2016

Otago Museum’s Perpetual Guardian Planetarium

The Perpetual Guardian Planetarium. Is that not the coolest name ever?

I’ve been following Ian Griffin on Twitter long enough to have developed some appreciation for the beauty of the night sky and realise that Hooper Inlet’s is kind of a big deal in terms of astronomy observation but I am not really a sciencey-space person.

The words of the Science Communicator washed over me like waves lapping on a warm shore.  “Earth turns on its axis”, “waxing gibbous”, “hydrogen converts to helium” and “tidal lock”. The soundtrack, particularly the simple piano, was incredibly relaxing.  My favourite part was when we were invited to enjoy the experience anyway we chose, including napping. I fully expected to nana nap but the show was too captivating.  A positively magical experience- bring your Harry Potter fans!

The story of space.

Romantic names of the moon include the seas of tranquility and serenity; the ocean of storms.  The Milky Way is also known as the kete- a basket knocked over, spilling out stars.  And in every good story, there is a villain. Mercury was described “amazingly hostile” which is how I’d describe my rage-toddler some days.

My 5 year old was captivated by the science of the red spot on Jupiter; a storm which has been raging for 400 hundred years. She turned to whisper to me, “I feel like I’m in a rocket ship.”
I am far more enamoured with the poetry of the stars than the science but the thing about the night sky is that you can’t separate the two. 

Also, the Otago Museum is the home of the $3 bagel and fresh cream cheese in 3 flavours. And the fluffies are FFFFFRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE with a hot drink. Is that family-friendly or what?!

Star light, Star bright. The first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might…

Friday, September 16, 2016

Recipe: Plum Crisp

Plums in baking is kind of my thing. Actually, fruit of any kind heated up in some sort of sugar, butter and cinnamon combo really does it for me.

Fun fact: NZ is the only country IN THE WORLD that tins Black Doris Plums.

Alright, I'm don't with my witty intro. Let me launch into the instructions to help get this little beauty into your mouth.

1 tin Black Doris Plums

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup Harraway's Oats (you'd think those motherflippers were paying me but they aren't- I just like the product and supporting local! And I'm still hoping they'll send me free oats)
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Mix up some melty butter and sugar (cream at room temp or microwave the crap out of it. I don't write recipes that can be messed with). Sprinkle cinnamon like fairy dust.

2. Add oats until not more oats add in.

3. De-pit or schuck the plums. Put the flesh into a small baking dish.

4. Chuck that oat mixture on top and baked at 160 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.

5. Convince your spouse or flatmate to make custard from scratch. 

EAT. Enjoy. Try to save your seconds for tomorrow. Of course, all bets are off if it's a snow day!

Not all recipes can make your kitchen look like a crime scene
(I didn't even stage this shot!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Starfish Cafe, St. Clair

Starfish Cafe has been a long standing favourite of mine. Starfish is the nick-namesake for and across the street from my favourite playground in town. And it offers the best takeaway coffee for my weekly mini walk.  A hat-trick of favourites. Favourites for Africa!

As you probably know, this hip local has had a bit of a menu upgrade and an impressive design refit. Really, the owners had to make more space because the cafe is just so gosh-darn popular. However, they do not have to wash my manky takeaway cups or offer coconut milk for my flat white...



And then there's the location for photo ops like this:

And this:

But not for much longer! Good-bye, iconic poles!

p.s. The coffee cards only require 6 purchases for a freebie! BONUS!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Buy Local Showcase: Harraway Oats

I'm a lazy baker.

I like the food. I want to eat the food. I don't want to spend a lot of time making the food.

Bucky Bar Birdfeed-erific!
A little birdie told me that, legally, if you make 2 changes or more to a recipe here in good ol' NZ, you own that new recipe. If that's the case, I am gourmet genius because I cannot follow instructions to save myself.  I'm not sure if it's an attention span thing or a wildly inflated ego which leads me to rebel against harmless (and often helpful) transactional writing but the end results vary from mildly underwhelming to entirely edible.  This one is edible!! 

If, by any chance, my legal counsel (from not a lawyer) is inaccurate, and just for moral/ethical reasons, I'd like to reference the Minimalist Baker's 5 Ingredient Granola Bars. Not that I'm profiting in any form except getting to eat and spread the word of good food with more Kiwi friendly slang.  (Unless Harraway wants to sponsor me or send a free bag of oats- hint, hint. nudge nudge.)

Success Criteria: 
By the end of this recipe, you should be able to:
Cook from scratch, avoid buy individually packaged lunch snacks, spend less on groceries and avoid processed food chemicals and enjoy the general smugness of bettering the family's lunches.

Here we go.

Bucky Bars: Lazy, tasty, mostly healthy 5+ INGREDIENT Muesli BARS


  • 1 cup packed (200 g) dates, pitted (soak in water for 5 minutes or just add a tbsp to the kitchen whiz)
  • 1/4 cup (84 g) maple syrup for a Canadian kick (or honey-  but this will negate the veganism of the recipe)
  • 1/3 cup (64 g) natural peanut butter (great stuff made at Bin Inn on Crawford St)
  • 1 cup (112 g) roasted almonds/hazelnuts/chia/sunflower seeds and/or other bird-feed*, loosely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (135 g) Harraway's Rolled Oats (I only specific brand here because I like to keep my town employed)  

  •  *bird-feed can include sultanas or chocolate chips if you're trying to trick small children (or yourself) into eating these wholefood, healthy bad boys  

  1. Pulse up the dates in a kitchen whiz (about 1 minute). Kids love helping and pulverizing dates can't be effed it up.
  2. Optional step: Toast your oats in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw - I just prefer the toasted texture and having my oven on in winter (we live very close to Antarctica).
  3. Place oats, bird-feed mix and dates in a large mixing bowl - set aside.
  4. Warm maple syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to a stained Pyrex baking dish or other small pan lined with baking paper/a silicon mat;  easy to lift out and minimal washing.
  6. Press down firmly until uniformly flat - I get a child helper to press it down using a bit of wax paper and there's nothing uniform about it.
  7. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in fridge or, if in Dunedin, on the bench for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Cut up into nifty little rectangles which look store bought to trick your kids who will complain extra dramatically when they realise Bucky Bars are "no logo".  Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Apparently the bars freeze well but I wouldn't know because I am a champion eater.  (We all have our strengths.)

* For extra environmental smugness, wrap in reusable beeswax cotton. However, then you're enslaving the bees, you terrible vegan.
**If you don't like them, the birds will love them!! And if you love birds, you can use this recipe to make a feeder- just replace the maple syrup with any solid fat and mold into a ball. Hang from a tree!

Nutrition Information (if you can get 10 bars out of the tray and haven't added chocolate chippies)
Serving size: 1 bar Calories: 217 Fat: 8 g Saturated fat: 1 g Carbohydrates: 31 g Sugar: 19 g Fiber: 4 g Protein: 6 g

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Frills and Folly, King Edward Court, Stuart St.

Basically, Kathryn has opened her closet!

And lucky us because her closet is warm, interesting and affordable. Every piece has a story and ,if you're lucky, Kathryn will make you a cuppa and fill you in.

Cheapest fur in the city, I'm sure of it! Full length for $50

Temuka! $15 for the lot.
(No longer available, as it lives in my kitchen now.)
Forget about the blue, too.

My precious.
I also bought a leather jacket for $30. Meaning I totally splurged in the last 24 hours (yes, I went twice) and spent less than triple digits.  Still weighing up a beaded blue dress for $40. Very appropriate for a 1920s party or a glamorous dinner. Neither of which is in my immediate future, my middle future or quite possibly my ever future... Maybe if I run for Mayor, I'll need something special for the coronation under the red robes and gold chains.

 Is it called a coronation? Anyone? Cull? Chin? Bueller?

See the Facebook pages for opening hours.