Category Archives: Experiences

Perfect scrambled eggs


Eggs on toast. Simple. Breakfast.

As a child, I very much disliked scrambled eggs. I think I decided this in association with the airplane breakfast smells, which was very disagreeable with my stomach. So attached was I to this memory, I decidedly refused to cook or order it throughout the years. I didn’t see a need to change.
In 2016 I stumbled upon a new way – THE Gordon Ramsay video – to make it and was surprised at how wrong that memory was! Now it is a fav at home and an easy weekend breakfast. Scrambled eggs, where have you been all my life! Thank you Gordon Ramsay!

Ingredients (for 2 hungry adults)

  • 6 large eggs
  • 25g cold butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • freshly ground pepper and flaky sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 4 slices wholegrain or sourdough bread, toasted, to serve

Directions

  1. Break the eggs into a cold, heavy-based pan, place on the lowest heat possible, and add the butter. Using a spatula, stir the eggs continually to combine the yolks with the whites.
  2. The eggs will take about 4-5 minutes to set and scramble – it should still be soft and quite lumpy. As the eggs set, keep moving the pan off and back on the heat to make sure the eggs don’t overcook.
  3. Meanwhile, toast the bread.
  4. Add the crème fraîche and season the eggs at the last minute, then add the chives (optional). Put the toasts on warm plates, pile the softly scrambled eggs on top and serve immediately.

The key to creamy, fresh-smelling eggs is:

  • Use a heavy based pot
  • Stir eggs gently instead of whisking
  • Cook at low heat with constant stiring
  • Season only at the end

You can stop reading here if all you were looking for is the scrambled eggs recipe. However, I am going to share some thoughts/reflections about this photo above and the year 2016.

Hand thrown ceramics plates bowls

In 2016, I had a go at pottery and made these plates. The process was like nothing else. From a clump of clay to something functional. All in your hands. I was incredulous at the calmness and out-of-this-world happiness I experienced from such a hands-on activity.

The amazing thing about it was, I could decide what to do with it, whether it is to be a plate, a bowl or a mug. It didn’t matter that it didn’t look perfect, what mattered was the learning and relieving myself of the need for it to be perfect, because that stopped me from enjoying the process.

Hand thrown ceramics

Sometimes you can’t get too comfortable. Life will be boring without constant challenges, which are all learning opportunities. I was forced to get very uncomfortable this year. It was hard with the unknown, but my faith carried me through. I accepted the learnings and faced the challenges head on, knowing that God’s grace is enough, it is always more than I ever need.

I also believed in myself and that is sometimes the biggest help you can get when facing difficult situations.

Give yourself a chance.

Learn new things.

Face your fears.

You will thank yourself for it.

Welcome, 2017!

#learnings
#2016
#2017
#fatherslove

Hand thrown ceramics plates bowls

The Auckland Food Show 2016 Preview


Thanks to the Food Show and the PR Shop, I was able to experience the Auckland Foodshow Preview and I am so excited to share with you some of the highlights of my day. (A quick note here that I will return to the show over the coming days and may update the post with any new found gems…)

Without further ado, let me introduce my top stalls of the show:

Soda Press Co

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The flavour profiles were profound and distinct; yet not overpowering. It was so hard to choose which of the range to buy as they were all very, very delicious.  In the end I thought about the macarons I would make with these and decided on Blueberry and Lime, Raspberry and Mint (I think this is going to be a winner), Gingerale, Old Fashioned Lemonade and Pink Grapefruit. Did I mention they contain 40-50% less sugar than other syrups? Cam from Soda Press Co tells me that their ingredients are locally sourced from NZ and they will be fully certified organic by the end of the year. With their fabulous show special, who can resist?
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Barrys Bay Cheese

They had their entire range out for sampling and what made them stand out from the crowd was the detailed knowledge they had about each of their chesses, how each tastes and pairing suggestions. Here are some of my favourites: Maasdam and Cheshire.
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Paneton Bakery



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Finally, chocolate pastry, ready rolled. Need I say anymore? Hurry up and rush to get your hands on some. These are buttery and dark, perfect for a chocolate mousse tart with rich chocolate, mascarpone cream and a cherry compote. They come in 250g and 500g packs, and I think the 250g will be perfect for small batches of tarts and cookies while the larger pack would be great of a large tart. Perfect for this wintery kind of weather, wouldn’t you agree?

Women’s Bookshop

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I love cook books – for the new recipe ideas and magnificent photography. The Women’s Bookshop at the show has all the cookbooks you can think of – plus it is located right next to the Whirlpool Cooking Theatre, where the chefs will come from after their cooking demos and do book signing. Here I picked up the Masu by Nic Watt from the fabulous chef at Masu, our favourite Japanese restaurant in Federal Street in the center of Auckland. It has beautiful photography and the recipes are easy to follow, using ingredients that can be sourced locally.

The Whirlpool Cooking Theatre

The highlight of my day was going to Josh Emett’s cooking demo with Jane Leong, head chef of Madam Woo, which serves traditional Malaysian Hawker food in a modern setting. They started first in Queenstown, then Takapuna, Dunedin and now Hamilton. I picked up a few tips at the demo (and learned just how much they can spend on cucumbers!) and can’t wait to take the family to Madam Woo asap!

KOAST Limoncello

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Their range features Limoncello, Cream Limoncello and Orangecello, which are all made free of preservatives, additives or colouring. I tried all three and decided on a sampler pack so I could – guess what – make macarons XD. The flavour is bold and beautiful, you can easily drink it as an aperitif or mix with soda water for a nice refreshing drink, make icepops and bake a cake with it.
Their words not mine “100% Natural. 100% New Zealand. Handmade by our family, on the Kapiti Coast with lots of love, care, and time.” Wonderful, isn’t it?

L’Authentique Charcuterie

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Sampling here takes an average of 10 minutes – Wade patiently takes you through their range, inviting you to try all of them before deciding which one you like the most. Their sausages are handmade with 100% free farmed meat, dairy free, gluten free, with no additives or preservatives. The taste? Simply the best. Our favourites are their Toulouse grind which we use to make meatballs or dumplings, Peking Maximus which is made with Hallertau Maximus Craft beer and Pork and Fennel.

Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter
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Most couldn’t believe something this tasty only has 2 ingredients – peanuts and salt! (if you prefer they have a no salt version which means there is only 1 ingredient in it – 100% peanuts.) That’s what people discovered when Pic’s was launched in 2008. Once you’ve tasted this you wouldn’t want to go back to any other. They now also have almond butter, cashew butter and peanut oil in their range.

Heller’s

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Their new pork schnitzel and nuggests were out and one sample was not enough! The schnitzel was baked in the oven for 25 minutes, and was juicy and tender. Thumbs up from the family and definitely keeping on the shopping list for quick weekday meals. I could also pour over a Japanese Tonkatsu sauce and it would be just like how Saika does it…

and…
Because I ran out of time, here’s a list of the stalls I’m returning to conduct further product analysis and investigation 😛

  • Urban Hippe Miso
  • Lewis Road Creamery (no excuse except that I wasn’t going home direct from the show and cannot take the milk, butter and ice cream with me then)
  • Silver Fern Farms (ditto)
  • Nanam Eatery (for a proper lunch)
  • Simon Gault – for the stock and seasonings. I recommend the fish and Beef stock, Morrocan and Indian spice seasonings. They are also running a special with Turks chicken, I just hope they don’t run out!

Spring is here!


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The weather’s very unpredictable now that spring is here. Blue sky, thundery clouds, heavy down pour that only lasts for 2 minutes and then rainbows. This all happened five times in a day, like a song stuck on repeat.
This went on for days, and the weather finally cleared the day I flew to Wellington. As I walked out of the boarding gate and onto the tarmac, I was stuck by how bold the rainbow’s sitting just in front. I sought and received permission to take photos right there (afterall there are rules around taking photos at airports!).

I usually sit on the right hand side of the plane to get photos of the mountains. Today the clouds were quite thick and I didn’t expect to see Mt Taranaki. I was wrong.

After a mad day at work, I had precisely 20 minutes to dash from my office to my hotel to get changed and to get on the 5.04pm bus, the same bus which my fellow photoshoot friends were all jumping on along the way to get to the top of Mt Victoria.

I told myself as I dashed out – I will miss things if I rush like this. Well I did – I forgot about cash [michelle’s mum: I don’t understand how you could not have cash on you at all times]. Specifically cash for the bus!! Luckily the friend I was travelling with had some [we do live in a country where eftpos is king].

The bus journey itself was an adventure – I could not believe buses could go so fast in such narrow roads without causing accidents [I was corrected – accidents do happen]. I met some new friends and we were all very eager to get to the top.

Where on earth are all the clouds when you want to shoot a beautiful sunset? All gone, none there to create beautiful light patterns. Well I could only make use of what’s given, so here we go.

It was another adventure to say the least to get from Mt Vic to Newtown, and it’s suffice to say we were all very glad when we got there and saw houses [civilisation!]

Newtown has been described as shabby chic, and definitely not the kind of photography subject/location I’m familar with. The six of us fanned out in all sorts of direction, with the promise of a good pub burger not too far ahead.

It was a good challenge and I look forward to more of these ‘planned’ photoshoots in the future.

When I woke up in the morning, the weather had completely changed and clouds were heavily covering the sky. Where were you 12 hours ago? I asked.
Determined to make use of the time [I couldn’t sleep and woke up very early] I headed out to the waterfront where plenty of joggers were out already. Time to test my ND filter.

On the way back to Auckland, there were some interesting cloud formations and this is one of my favourite ones – where I am right between heaven and earth. So close so close.

Rollercoasters


I don’t like roller coaster rides. The thrill and excitement that comes from the anticipation of the first drop quickly dissipates and I find myself holding onto the bars for my dear life, thinking, I’m so over this, please stop. So the next two minutes feel like ten, with every cell in my body hating the jostling, banging and the noise. Eah.

In life, I try to avoid peaks and troughs by planning my work weeks in advance. It really annoys me when people don’t consider the challenges others have to go through, dismisses their plan and push for their own. No matter it being accidental or deliberate, I can’t help but think that person is saying they are more important than I am.

This past week was a bit like a roller coaster ride for me. What do I do? Do I wallow in self-pity? Do I get upset and let my annoyance take over? I really don’t want that and I refuse to live in that ‘downward spiral’ that only makes my day go from bad to worse.

I prayed for help and for a passage that will guide me.
I opened up Our Daily Bread, and accidentally opened a reading from August last year. ( I suppose it isn’t actually an accident that I opened to this piece, I did ask Him for help ;D )

The piece talked about how Jesus did good by teaching, healing, feeding, and comforting people. His followers are called to meet the needs of others, including those who hate them: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” (Matthew 5:44; see also Luke 6:27-35). They are to serve their enemies without expecting anything in return.

I’m also reminded of the Fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – which are characteristics I should emulate.

What good thing can I do today in Jesus’ name? When we do good, we will be offering a sacrifice that pleases God (Hebrews 13:16) and that draws people to Him (Matthew 5:16).

Wellington city at night


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Tree lightsJuxtaposition between the White House and Beach Babylonunder jettyWhale SculptureBoat shedBoat shed

Wellington Night, a set on Flickr.

I am still grappling with the deep sense of satisfaction and joy I experienced a few nights ago when I went out after work for a photo shoot in Wellington city.

It was an incredibly calm evening, with virtually no wind – unheard of for the ‘windiest city’.
I was able to start relatively early, and started off from Oriental Parade, where I had just had the most amazing dinner at the White House Restaurant (see review of it from an earlier post).

A friend joined me for our evening shoot, and I found that shooting with company is actually far more enjoyable than alone – bouncing ideas off each other (out right stealing sometimes!!) and watching each other’s back. Perhaps the latter is the real reason for my state of mind (a female roaming the streets alone at night with camera gear is not exactly safe) allowing me to relax, focus and just enjoy the moment.

The night was incredibly calm and quiet, harbor still-ish. We set up our tripods and I can feel myself relaxing already.
During the long exposures, you press the button on the cable release, and then you pretty much just stand around, waiting for the required time to past. I look up and see my friend doing exactly the same thing. I can’t help but smile at the sight of two person standing idly around the tripod-mounted camera, not talking and waiting for the same magical sound of the shutter closing.

Photography is not something you can rush, and there aren’t a lot of people I know who would put up with me when I’m shooting…food will go cold they say!

I also understood why I was so incredibly happy – I was doing something for myself.

I had been quite stressed and anxious at work lately, and now I am feeling more at peace, recharged and back in the game.

Hope you enjoy these photos!

Via Flickr:
Wellington lights from Oriental Parade and the Boatshed