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    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Jackson Browne at The Civic Theatre Auckland

    Just a small post we had a great evening at the Jackson Browne concert on Wednesday night.
    But...What is it with Jackson Browne’s Fans?
    This is his fourth concert tour in New Zealand. He is really popular here, as he is obviously globally.
    But where do those fans come from?
    Of course the audience tended towards elderly (understandably due to his age) but not only were they old, they were quite weird.

    He came on to rapturous applause and started playing.
    By the way how does he stay so youthful, most men would give their eye teeth for that hair…but I digress.

    People kept out shouting to him, they obviously feel they have a personal relationship with him. Never heard so many people keen to talk to the star.
    Some examples.

    “JB you’re a legend.”

    “Hey thanks for playing that concert in 1986 to help the Rainbow Warrior appeal.”

    Then this squeaky voice behind us, kept calling

    “Can we dance?
    Can we dance?”

    Another man was incensed by this.

    “Put your head in a bloody bucket and keep it there.”
    God, I thought there was going to be a punch up.
    But Jackson Browne fans are not violent and there wasn’t a riot!!!
    He shut up.

    I was intrigued by another 60 something in front of us… frantically waving his hands to a Warren Zevron song… I really thought that in his excitement he would have a heart attack. JB used to produce Warren apparently
    Our twitching friend wasn’t as impressed with the other music, maybe he is just a big fan of Warren.
    Some grey haired (once again men) groupies were down by the stage, phones in air and dancing. Only one lonely girl was on the other side.
    Not since the Tony Jo White concert have I seen so many excited older men.
    Actually the TJW crowd were lost in the 60’s, you should have seen what they were wearing. Talk about time warp.

    Not withstanding all of this…
    JB and his band gave a great concert. Excellent musicians, we loved it.
    JB and his lead guitarist have more guitars than most people have shoes, I reckon.
    According to my knowledgeable husband, each guitar was especially tuned for each number.

    They even played a beautiful guitar and mandolin made for them by a New Zealand guitar maker featuring our wonderful native Kauri wood.

    2 standing ovations, not too bad for a senior.

    PS If it had been Boz Scaggs or Jimmy Buffet on that stage maybe I would have been down waving my phone taking pictures!

    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    Hunting and Gathering 2009

    Dale and I are not good foragers,
    but luckily we have friends who have supplied us
    with seafood, over this wonderful summer, that we have been experiencing here in the Antipodes.
    While in Whangaroa, our friends were very busy.
    Lana went cockling with the crew of Margaritaville

    She turned them into fritters.
    Katie, our daughter, as mentioned in a previous post, caught a snapper off Cajun Moon.
    It seems that a wee drink seemed to help.
    She and Chris went off in the dinghy, complete with drink for another fishing trip, and caught another snapper.
    Lana turned all of this into a great Poisson Cru

    The mango was a wonderful touch.
    300 gms fresh snapper sliced finely not chopped
    Juice of 1 lime
    2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
    1 chilli finely chopped
    1 mango peeled and chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 dessertspoons coconut milk
    Lots of coriander chopped

    Leave chilling for about 1 hour to meld flavours.

    A simple Watermelon Salad was good with that.
    Cut watermelon into 2 cms chunks
    Slice about 6 mint leaves
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Toss with French dressing
    The forager, Lana dressed, to match the salad
    Our next feast was supplied by the Crew of Silverado.
    Stunning…3 huge crays and bucket full of scallops.
    Lana was on pre dinner cocktails
    Laurian cooked the scallops in Pernod
    And the crays were broken up and served with mayonnaise
    It was fabulous…you know there was so much we couldn’t even finish the crayfish.
    How about that for leftovers?

    So we moved away from Whangaroa for a few days to stay with the family at Omaha Beach.
    More food from the sea. Just one nights catch.
    Chef Neil was on hand to filet.
    Did you know that John Dory had this huge mouth? learn something everyday. They use it to hoover up food, I believe.
    The fisher persons holding up their fileted catch
    Neil cooked it on the BBQ in Chilli Butter
    So after a wonderful few days with the family we went back to the boat.
    Garry and Sandra (from Margaritaville) accompanied by their friend Robyn, invited us over to share pipi fritters.
    Garry is a dab hand at these.
    They were yummy.
    Saw these little fish mulling around the boat…didn’t bother catching them.
    So when our Hunting and Foraging friends departed…In order to get fresh fish, we had to go and eat at The Whangaroa Big Gamefish Club.
    does the best Fish and Chips at the café there. In fact I could do with a feed of them now. My mouth is watering.

    Bluenose the fish… absolutely divine, wrapped in paper just like they should be.

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Back on the Boat Again - Chilli and Cheese Bread – Salmon and Pineapple Fish Cakes

    So we returned home after the wedding and it was time to unpack – wash everything and get ready to embark on our new few weeks on the boat.
    We stopped at Keri Keri New World, which is a very good supermarket and shopped for the next week or so.
    The poor little car was so stuffed
    We treated ourselves to a coffee and I have to say the presentation of my coffee was very impressive.
    I always have a long black. It came with my own little jug of hot water and a baby chocolate fish. Isn’t that classy?
    Of course the worse bit is unloading but we did that without too much arguing and went and found a nice bay.
    Our friends Elphie and Pete were coming to join us for the weekend so I made
    Chilli Cheese Bread
    Got this recipe off a TV show called Huey’s Cooking Adventures. It’s a good one.

    The dough is very wet and little messy to handle but I guarantee it works.
    The wet dough technique also works exceptional well for pizza dough
    and foccacio bread.

    400 mls hand hot water you may not use the full 400
    15 gms packet yeast these come in 8 gms packets

    Sprinkle the yeast over the water stir and leave to prove 5-10 minutes.

    This gives you time to assemble the other ingredients.

    500 gms plain hi-grade flour sifted
    4 little 2 med chilies de-seeded and finely chopped
    1 spring onion cleaned and finely chopped
    240 gms grated tasty cheese (buy ready grated for this recipe, its easier)
    2 tsp salt
    ½ tsp sugar
    1 tbs sambal olek (optional for those with more tender mouths)
    1 tbs olive oil

    1 loaf tin

    Egg wash
    1 egg beaten with 2 tbs of milk

    Place the flour in a large bowl if using stainless steel warm the bowl first…
    yeast likes a bit of warmth.
    Add all the other ingredients mix with your hand then pour in the yeast mixture
    Stir first with a wooden spoon till the liquid is blended in
    don’t add it all…try about 300 -350 first to get it to a nice wet dough,
    then start to knead with your hand in the bowl, you may need to add a
    little more flour so that you can handle it.
    When you have a nice ball (shouldn’t take more than a 1-2 minutes) cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise till double its size (pictured below)
    This will take about an hour depending on the air temperature.

    Then collapse the dough into the bowl and drop onto a floured bench.
    Knead for about 1-2 minutes adding a little more flour if it is too hard to handle.

    Shape into loaf shape and push into a greased loaf tin
    Leave to rise lightly covered probably best with a clean cloth
    until doubled in size again. It really rises up good for first time bread makers.

    Brush with egg wash and into hot oven 190◦
    for 30 - 40 minutes till golden.

    Turn out from tin, tap the bottom; if it sounds hollow it’s done,
    if not, back in oven for another few minutes.

    So we ate the bread with cold cuts and salad
    Elphie and Pete working off the lunch!

    Pete was as unsuccessful, as we seem to be, at catching fish
    His best haul of the two days!
    In fact the only person to catch a fish on Cajun Moon was our daughter Katie during their visit in the New Year.
    Her first ever fish. It broke the rod.

    Hey, it's not the only fish the boat has caught.
    We moving through really big seas to a safe haven last week, it was horrible but luckily short.
    In the morning Dale found a fish on the deck... unfortunately he threw it away before I could take a shot. Pity.It must have flown on with the big crashing waves.
    But I digress, and back to Pete and Elphie.
    Elphie is about to market an excellent wholegrain mustard dressing.
    She gave us a bottle and Pete painted a special label just for us.
    There will be more about this as time goes on.
    There were drinks on the poop deck
    I made some tasty little fritters to accompany the drinks…from the left over pasta from the previous night.
    It really is glorious here in Whangaroa
    But I do want to share probably some of the nicest fish cakes I have made.

    Salmon and Pineapple

    I had some leftover mashed potatoes.
    I do extra on purpose there is always a good dish to be made from day old potatoes
    The quantities wont be exact
    But you can get the idea
    1 spring onion chopped
    1 stalk celery chopped
    1 slice pineapple peeled and chopped finely
    Good shake hot chilli flakes or 1 fresh chilli if you have it
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil

    Gently sauté the above in the oil till just soft.
    In a bowl add
    1 cup mashed potato (approx)
    100gms hot smoked salmon
    And cooled ingredients
    Add more seasoning if it needs it
    Add 1 beaten egg

    Form into patties and dip in Panko Breadcrumbs
    Leave for at least an hour to firm and the flavours to meld

    Fry in vegetable oil till golden brown.
    You could make a sauce to have with them but the flavours are so good
    Just a squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground black pepper

    I kid you not…these are sensational.
    (By the way we ate them all...I'm never going to be slim again in my entire life.
    Quelle domage!)

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Orzo, Feta and Beetroot – A Great Mix - Salad- Frittata

    Congratulations Ruth from Once Upon a Feast
    She is hosting her 100th Presto Pasta Night Event. This is my contribution.

    This will serve 4 people as a first course

    1 cup orzo Cooked to manufacturers instructions
    3 tablespoons French dressing

    1 tablespoons olive oil
    1 onion finely chopped
    1 courgette grated
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    75 gms goat's Feta

    2 beetroot medium, roasted and cubed
    1 tablespoon oil
    Sprinkle dried oregano
    Shake of chilli flakes
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon honey
    Squeeze lemon juice
    Gently sauté the courgette and onion till soft season

    Meanwhile cook the Orzo
    Drain and toss in French dressing
    Add feta crumbled while still hot

    Add cooled courgette mix

    Saute beetroot in oil
    Add herbs and chilli
    Add honey and lemon juice and toss.

    Place cooked beetroot on top of pasta
    Don’t mix till you are ready to serve
    The beetroot bleeds and its not so pretty
    But it sure tasted good. I had left overs
    So the next day
    I pre heated the oven to 190C

    I peeled and cubed 2 med potatoes
    Sauteed them gently in about 4 tablespoons olive oil till cooked

    Drained them and drained off excess oil from pan leaving about 1 tablespoon

    In a bowl beat 6 eggs and season
    Add cooked potatoes and left over orzo salad
    Heat pan add mix get it started on the stove top
    Transfer to the oven
    Cook about 8 minutes
    And what do you get but a Fabulous Frittata

    Monday, February 09, 2009

    Congratulations to Dani and Kev – A Wonderful Day

    Well I’ve finally got around to posting a blog about the wedding. Our real reason (other than food) for going to Sydney.
    Our dear friends Yvonne and Stuart, were marrying off their only daughter Danielle to Kevin. A match made in heaven we all think.
    We are such good friends with the Rubins, they are certainly considered part of our family and the feeling is mutual.
    So we were very excited to be attending this function and had been looking forward to it for months.

    It’s a Jewish wedding and as lovers of celebrations, we were keen to see how they do it.
    The ceremony was held on Pier 2 Walsh Bay just under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
    An excellent venue right on the water.
    Thank God it had cooled down. The previous day (our Bondi day trip) was 40C, that would have been awful we would have all melted in our finery

    We girls spent the day getting ready. The hairdresser came to the hotel, she was cute she was a little hat very stylish.
    Then it was off to David Jones for the makeup at M.A.C.
    In between the 3 make ups we had lunch at the Oyster Bar.
    Very nice it was too.
    Glass of Champagne each, and we shared 2 dozen oysters, dressed with a special divine dressing, designed by Tetsuya Australia’s most famous Chef.
    Prawn cocktails, some smoked Ocean Trout accompanied by some delicious Rye Bread. Good lunch for girls.
    The boys meanwhile, got ready by lunching at the local sports bar, watching cricket and motorcar racing, or some other boys day out thingy!

    So we cabbed to the venue and waited for the bride and groom.
    The boys were given yarmulkes, specially made for the wedding, in a fetching beige
    A souvenir no less, labeled with the date and wedding details stitched inside
    Dale we felt was a cross between Pope John and Larry David.
    He decided against dressing up...I think that was the Larry David bit!
    Luckily the rest of us made an effort. All very glam.
    I love the four poster canopy that is customary for the Jewish wedding.
    Here is the groom (slightly hidden on the right) with his attendants waiting for the bride
    And her she comes with her glamorous parents all looking stunning.
    I loved the way the Rabbi sang the service, and all around us people clapped and sang as well great fun. They did the circling and the smashing of the glass.
    And it was done.
    Lovely petals and rosemary thrown to wish them well
    Congratulations Dani and Kev

    I love this shot of Dani…it is so typical of her
    So off to the reception just a quick jaunt down the wharf
    Champagne, wine and canapés and into the venue. Which was set up as long tables beautifully decorated with Ralph Lauren wallpaper as a runner down the tables and lovely candelabra.
    But first more fun.
    Everyone congregated around and started the dancing.
    Men in one circle, women in another and off went the music, Zena Zena, round and round they went
    Loud singing, lots of clapping then Hava Nagila
    And up into the air, in chairs went the bride and groom
    Hey don’t you love the chandelier.
    Then the men formed a line like the grand Old Duke of York and tossed Kevin down. This is where that freefalling that young people do in concerts started, I guess.
    You can just see his legs in the air.
    Then time to eat and grand food it was too.

    It came out in big platters
    Sea trout on Coconut Blinis, Butterbean and Beetroot Salad

    Then Fish, Caesar Salad and a Pasta Roulade.

    I missed the dessert so can’t comment on that.
    There was loads to drink and eat, a great band excellent speeches and all in all a wonderful night.
    But going home was a bit of a problem.
    It’s the worse place in the word to get taxis.
    It seems the Sydney cabbies are a law into themselves. You call, but they don’t come.
    Helen and Katie had been waiting for at least 45 minutes before Dan and Chris and I came out.

    Meanwhile Dale in his slightly blurry wisdom decided he would walk off and find a cab with another young man. He neglected to tell us where he was going and also he was without money or credit card.
    So after another long wait we decided to hoof it ourselves
    Of course before too long the shoes were off. Luckily it was a balmy night and the pavements were quite smooth for bare feet.
    Got a great view of the Opera House though and the Harbour Bridge lights up well at night
    Finally we reached a hotel and waited around
    The girls were approached by a Spanish couple and asked directions in Spanish.
    They looked so "International" with their flowers in their hair...the couple were really disappointed they were Kiwis.
    We finally got a cab, would only take 4 people so girls first, of course
    Of course we wondered about Dale, but we had no idea where he was.
    Can’t do much about that. We got back to the hotel,

    So back to Dale… He found a cab finally got into one and the cabbie shouted
    “I’m going off duty mate, I don’t really want this fare.”
    He reluctantly drove him back to the venue, which of course was deserted.
    Dale told him he had no money and would he take him to the hotel where he could get some money…but the cabbie said “Bugger off, you can get out here.”
    So alone, he was left… and then had to walk the long way home.
    It took him a while and he got a blister on his toe.
    But someone up there was looking after him and he arrived safely.
    Of course the rest of us were obviously really worried. I fell asleep on the couch. The boys went to the pub and the girls to bed.

    A sorry sight he was. A lesson learnt though...
    Probably not.