Friday, 30 July 2010

A particularly special message from Katie's kindred cook, Matt

 Hello dear friends of an angel, so glad that you you've popped in for a wee visit. 
 I am delighted to share these wonderful thoughts with you.. 
sent to me via Facebook this evening by my Matthew 
& published with his permission : )
If you haven't visited "our" angel in the kitchen blog yet
you are most welcome & will find us just here

Although its only the very beginning of August, this morning the ever looming consumer driven ethos of Christmas had already arisen in my ever pondering mind. However, I then remembered upon returning home to my parent’s last Christmas day for the first year in five, that together as a family we’d enthusiastically decided that no longer were we going to buy into the modern concepts of Christmas. We had already come to the insight that Christmas is a ‘time’ to get together from across the country to spend as a family, not just simply a day. And so instead, as a foodie family, we were going to give each other wonderfully interesting offerings of the edible kind. Now several months down the track, I’m really quite enthusiastically looking forward to this coming Christmas. However, since our re-evaluation on festive priorities, Mum and I, like any other year, just as the seasons change, week by week have discussed all of the new, and interesting, and unusual foods we’ve found. Whether from tucked away in little whole-food shops or amongst our local weekend farmers markets, we’ve conversed about food. We’ve taken photo’s of the food we’re cooking and of our edible creations, and via one electronic means or another have wowed the other with a colourful display of yumminess. But, this only lasted up until a month ago, when the discussions and pictures were no longer suffice. At first, amongst the mail one day, I received a bunch of lovely fresh aromatic thyme. Then it was a bag of ‘earth gems’, that were bright yellows, and reds, and purples, and looked like little plums, smelt like beetroot, and tasted in between a really waxy potato and a yam... Then in return, I sent her a couple of loaves of my freshly baked sourdough that I’d concocted from my ten month old sourdough bug, bundled up with a couple of incredibly deep-purple organic kumara. The following week I had an uncle arrive on the door step, while passing on business, accompanied by a large box of glorious fresh Hawke’s Bay grapefruit, oranges, mandarins and tamarillos. Not to mention my now favourite kitchen accessory; a green vintage cast iron enamel frying pan. And even now, I sit here while a rather large bowl of Mums citrus fruit soaks, awaiting its transformation into a marvelous batch of thick delicious marmalade, of course which, a jar or two will find itself in the back of a postal van on a journey to the other side of the country. However, I’m now faced with the predicament, as this enthusiasm for food escalates; what do we now do for Christmas? For as it seems, our concept of giving edible wonders as Christmas gifts, has now become the cross-country offerings of a daily evolving culinary journey. My excitement is no longer on the coming Christmas when I visit home for our vegetable filled family time. Its now focused on our everyday life as a family, lived from a distance, but quite fortunately one of the most functional relationships I've known. Of course, I also find childish Christmas-time excitement in pondering on what the next thoughtful parcel might contain? But that, I couldn’t even begin to predict.

Katie’s Kindred Cook,

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bespoke, Bunting, Bokeh

Bemused? let me explain..
It's so much more fun learning about "stuff" because you 
want to than because you have to. Bumping along with others 
through a global expression of common interest creates the 
perfect medium for happy learning & the exchange of 
useful skills & knowledge in a way that transcends age,
ability & locality.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am learning new things all 
the time..(might stave off the early dementia 
you never know!)
I had begun to wake up to the term "bespoke" quite recently
& realized that I actually had no clue as to it's meaning but it 
sounded quaint & appealing so I set about discovering what
this lovely word was all about.
   It pretty much just means commissioned, or made to order.
If I could have asked her I would have bespoke my Trade Me 
friend Leigh (lamplady) to make me this delightful bunting 
using 12 different kinds of vintage Sanderson fabric...
but she'd already made it anyway : )
Once it arrived it never made it out of our bedroom..perfect!!
perhaps we could call it intuitive bespoke bunting!

And of course bunting are the decorative flags that
can be made of anything at all really & strung up inside
or out purely for their celebratory or decorative impact.
My research turned up this info:
"Bunting was originally a lightweight worsted wool fabric
used for making flags of the Royal Navy"!!
I saw a fabulous bunting in a magazine recently made using
old maps & hung on the wall in a boys bedroom.
I also really like the idea of vintage or retro sheet bunting
for outside & just love this from the latest Victoria 
mag.. bunting made with old doilies
right.. the doilie hunt is on!

Another fascinating concept is the decade old Japanese
photographic technique known as bokeh which I stumbled 
upon in my exploration of "We heart it" an on line image
album site. I found the site through Sophie at 
"Her library adventures".. one of those wonderful people 
who effortlessly shares fun bits of her busy life & her 
passion for vintage finds while simultaneously enabling 
others ..ah that's right she's also a teacher..
firstly, if you have a minute & would be interested
do pop over to my image album at We heart it Pollyanna
...well it wouldn't accept any of my real names & I do
love rainbows & prisms & I am practicing the "glad game"!
Here are some of the lovely bokeh images from my album.

this site, I must say, isn't for everyone but you will be quite 
safe with my collection..the general feed is certainly an 
electic mix of interesting images..a global confluence

Secondly, bokeh:"The term comes from the Japanese word
boke (暈け or ボケ), which means "blur" or "haze", 
or boke-aji (ボケ味), the "blur quality". 
The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense
of a mental haze or senility!!!
In photography, bokeh is the blur or the aesthetic quality 
of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the 
way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light."

I would say that this picture that I took last
week of my lovely snowdrops would have bokeh
qualities wouldn't you agree?
I really do just have to pop this in here. 
My gorgeous vintage tablecloth that I stumbled 
upon this week..I just love it !!
more of tablecloths & tea next time

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A Smile Box of Winter Joy

I always say that life should have "flow"... 
marvelous to gather things, important to release
some from time to time
and so revitalising to keep learning new "stuff".
I am so inspired by Audrey just now.
  My dear just-across-the-road neighbour whom, in her
eighties lives carlessly alone with walls of books as her
fond companions, buys all she needs from op shops &
pops across the road each week to buy large quantities of
fruit (which is the very reason that I have my wee "shop") 
She has a voracious appetite for books & knowledge.
Still studying & perpetually reading, she is so full of
interesting opinions & has a head full of fascinating
facts & recollections of a life experienced to the full.
She tells me that she only feels to be in her mid 60's but when
she leans against the fence to chat the years give her away,
just a little. This week she suggested that I might like
to do some university papers! I told her, I am learning all the time & I
love to explore knowledge by finding out about
the "next thing in front of me" at my 
"point of need".
Which brings me to bespoke & bokeh & smile boxes.
I don't know about you but I have learned a HUGE amount 
in the last couple of years as I have begun to use a
computer, learnt to email, buy & sell on Trade Me,
write not one but 2 blogs, join Facebook &
even to learn how to take fairly reasonable photos. 
All things that I have never done before.
I have always loved words. I vividly remember at Primary
school the satisfaction of the word Maraekakaho in the
middle of my spelling list..go on spell it out loud...
isn't it lovely!!
It's actually a place name, of an area just out of town.
I don't want to keep you here for too long,
you might get bored!
So I will come back to the bespoke, bokeh, earth gems &
we heart it next time..very soon.
What I do want to show you is this wonderful site
called "Smile box" (thanks so much to lovely
Fiona at Maiseys Attic!!!)
Have a wee look at what I made this week.
There is so much here that you can do for free, however the
music selection is somewhat limited..when I sent my creation
to Rob's mum I didn't realize it went to her with sound
..Rob had left a "thingy" plugged in to the side of the
computer which stopped the sound this end.
I laughed & laughed when
I heard the accompanying music so I have left it there to
hopefully make you smile too & encourage you that having a
go at these things is the point..too bad if it is a little strange..
or not quite perfect it's all about learning

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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Sunday, 18 July 2010

Triumph and Boiled Lettuce

I have been so grateful for the world of blogging in the 
last few weeks. Reading the lovely posts of my blogging 
companions' creativity & everyday adventures has kept 
me anchored & sane.
We have been facing the most terrifying & stressful of times.
My poor darling has endured the most despicable work
related bullying over the last few years.
 Finally, this week, a number of nasties have concluded & 
at last been fully disarmed.
We have discovered through this time that we are both
strong & capable but also sensitive & vulnerable.
We have held on tight together & come back round once 
more to being so grateful for the simple, beautiful things
in life & for a love & friendship that has endured
& deepened despite the storms. 
"Grow old with me the best is yet to come"
I didn't fully understand how this would be 
until more recently.
When your children leave home everyone bangs on 
about the "empty nest syndrome" & the major upheaval
that this will be in your small wee menopausal life, 
 just the same as they always tell you that you better
hang on to every minute of your children being small 
"because they grow up sooo fast".
What no one ever says is that it's ok to wish your 
kids would grow up sometimes & that the adult relationship
that you get to have with them after they have left
home will be with you far longer & possibly be much 
more satisfying than you could ever have
imagined all the while that you were all growing up
& struggling through the early years together.
The thing is there are always
new miracles,
fresh starts
just around the corner..
let's hold tight to the wonder of the simple things
.....these really do look like fairy's hats
don't you think?!
And just look at Archie who I found in a 
recent NZ Gardner mag
bet he never imagined he would ever grow such a carrot!
I found these in a sheltered spot in my garden 
this week..
sometimes it's just seeing things in a new light that helps
although I am not very good at change, without it
there are so many things that we would miss out on.
The last few weeks have been profoundly wet & sometimes
very cold which means in spite of the feather duvet inner 
& snuggling up together we were still a teeny bit cold. 
Then I remembered the magnificent wedding cover 
that I had 
carefully tucked away in the linen cupboard.
It is just so exquisitely hand made.
I bought it at the Antique
Centre in Napier a few
years ago
now you see without winter I might never have retrieved this
beauty from the cupboard & marveled at the workmanship
and been just warm enough when covered in such loveliness!
a surprise wonder she's called "Dove"
Today we headed down the road to a local car boot sale
but found that it wasn't on this week so we popped in to a 
garage sale on our way home & Rob came across this
well treasured National Cookery book by Una Carter
not so sure that we'll ever make the stewed brains or the 
 cooked lettuce & probably especially not the boiled
cock's comb but it is quite an astonishing thought that
this one cook book embodies the cookery life experience
of another woman in another time..
I didn't get out & about much this week but I did pick up
this vintage teapot at Connections. There was just something
so familiar about it. It'll at least make a good prop for 
a new tea cosy perhaps.

a bit chilly to be swimming just now I would have thought

but then who would imagine that this little one would 
be having ago just now too..resilience!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Vintage Green

What is it about vintage green?
It just somehow seems to evoke feelings 
of fresh wholesomeness & goodness.
We live in an old bungalow that's had a few adjustments 
made to it through the years so we have ended up 
with more of a cupboard than a real laundry. 
Mostly it works pretty well but as winter approached
& the drafts returned we popped on our best
"make do & mend hats" & came up with this 
handy solution to the really big sneaky draft 
that whips through those laundry doors.
Firstly I gathered up my vintage "greens"

A dear old blanket with a few little flaws..holes & stains..
and a lovely old marcella that had badly faded in places
and was past it's best Convent days
then, not feelingly too badly about the sacrifice, I took
out my measuring tape & scissors & made a particularly
heavy, draft thwarting curtain which was then cleverly 
hung on a piece of pipe (just the right size) that
had once belonged to an outdoor umbrella.
Two little wooden brackets & we are all set : ) 
Now, this little laundry is really just fine, as I mentioned
 however, for quite some time now old "Bob the builder"
has been restoring the most awful old shed that's attached 
to the end of the garage & creating the most useful 
& vintagy space that we call "the Larder".
It's all coming along quite nicely & so are one or two
Christmases, but I now have some very handy little indoor
washing lines for just such a dismal, damp & dreary time..
do you notice some more touches of that green?
It's everywhere!

some of my favourite Sanderson just wore
right out out from being arm rests on the
couch so "he" suggested that we 
repurpose the best bits that the damage was done & the blanket was
indeed "chopped" I found more & more useful little 
jobs for it to do
 lining the inside of my tea cosy

backing my new little crocheted
flower brooch.
I had so much fun making this
& am grateful to Attic24
for the best crochet tutorials!
just love it on my vintage green velvet coat!
so I made a few more crocheted flowers & pinned
them on my woolie op shop hat but then it got freezing
so I wore it all day selling mandarins.
I wonder if anyone noticed the pins?!
"that" Kaitiaki arrived right in the middle of
all this vintage green & crochet.
He played with the cars, did a few flips.
demonstrated his strength,
held Pop's hand a lot, ate his lunch all the while
pouring tomato sauce from a wee glass jug & got
carried away making a fabulous "cration" like Katie's
I was so glad that I had my camera with me when
my lovely friend floated by while gardening
last week..ah the scent of luculia..
once home,in spite of the mud I was amazed to
find so much edible colour in my home garden
and these little treasures..are called "earth gems"
I found them in Bellatinos in Havelock North
(just in case you're local) more about them soon!..
Hope you've had a good week : )

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