Thursday, 27 March 2014

Parked In A Cafe Carpark...

Here I am... Safely over the Takaka Hill and
parked in a cafe carpark at Pohara Beach.
My daugher and family live here and run the
cafe... So it's home away from home!
A carpark is an interesting place to be parked. 
I'm tucked over one side which is the back
entrance to the kitchen.
I have my rebounder and table and chairs... 
That's RummyKub on the table. I'm waiting 
for my grandson to come and play with me... 
He's good at winning!
This is my other companion - Arlie the dog. I don't
really like dogs but this one's alright. I have been
chopping up firewood, the nights and early mornings
are cool enough to indulge in lighting my  Little Cracker.
The cafe opens at nine every morning and the car
park doesn't take long to fill up and I meet all
sorts of people... who want to buy allsorts and
licorice, so I now have some for sale...
More about that...
It's not far for me to walk for the best coffee
in Golden Bay. My daughter is the coffee roaster
her partner is the chef. Hot fresh  muffins to go
with the freshly roasted and brewed coffee...
Call in some time soon.
The cafe garden... Very children friendly...
And sunny corners... There is a wedding
here this weekend so as well as a cafe it's a
destination wedding venue.

Across the road from the car park and down this
short road and I'm at the beach... It's divine and
I have found where the cockles live.

This is the road back to town... Takaka 10km's

The cafe sign, the rural delivery letter box...
And the hitching sign and seat. Some enterprising
individual has put seats in various places and a 'thumbs
up' sign. These are places where people will stop
and give you a ride to town... Or further.
I'm going to try it!  

The other side of my bus are lovely rural farm
view out my windows. 

The cows in the distance come right up to the
fence close to my windows... Curious creatures!

Down the end of the paddock is a developing new
subdivision. The developer wants to build on the
whole paddock but there is insufficient drainage.
The houses that have been built and the altered
and inadequate drainage was a huge contributor 
to the massive and destructive floods 
here two years ago. The cafe gardens and deck were
underwater and more water flowing through the cafe.

One of the many Pukeko's that come close and
peck around in the swampy paddock.

So this is my home for a while. It's nice being
here with my family and for those who have been
following the progress of my leg since my accident,
I am going regularly to physio and for long walks on the 
beach so will probably stay here until my ACC alloted 
physio appointments run out. It's a great place
to park so no complaints from me. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Only Road To Takaka... Over The Hill...

This is where I am heading... Golden Bay... With
Farewell Spit at the top... My destination - Pohara.

 There is only one road to Takaka... The 50km winding 
Takaka Hill road that goes over the hill that separates the
communities of Golden Bay from the more populous
Tasman Bay.In this aerial photo you can see the flat area
of Motueka and Riwaka on the right. The yellow winding
line is highway 60 that goes right over the top of the hill
and down the other side to East Takaka then another
15 minutes of flat road to Takaka town.  
 Of the ten top roads in New Zealand this is Number three.

This photo is looking back over the
hops growing at Riwaka and Tasman Bay.

This view from the summit down the other side to
Takaka Valley.

The summit at 791 meters. The distance is not great
but because of the steepness... And in my bus I
travelled at about 30km all the way... It takes
a while. There is also lots of stops to look at the views.
 Just before the summit is the unsealed road to
Canaan Downs, a 12km drive then a 40 minute
walk will take you to the 183 meter deep Harwoods Hole
A spectacular hole and cave system... For
very experienced cavers only.

When I first came over this hill about 25 years
ago the road was metal, more windy and much
narrower. Now it is sealed all the way, has
been widened and as the locals say "It's
Just A Hill - Get Over It".

This is the steepest tightest corner... But if
this big milk tanker can get around it...
So can I!

Care is needed though, accidents do happen.

The rocky outcrops on the top portion of Marble Mountain, 
the colloquial name for Takaka Hill, so called because 
it's the source of New Zealand's only quality marble... 
Used in the construction of Parliament buildings and 
Nelson Cathedral. This beautiful marble it's colours 
and textures is the inspirational material for several
well known Golden Bay sculptors. 

This spectacular and unusual terrain was also used
as a location in 'The Lord Of The Rings' film trilogy
 - Chelwood Forest - recognise it? And The Hobbit
It's a mysterious place and an experience driving over this hill.

This marble hill is typical karst country has weathered into 
many strange forms with numerous sink holes, cave
systems and underground rivers.
There is the stunning Ngarua Caves
with its extensive and breathtaking variety of stalagmites
and stalactites and and excellent skeletal  display of the 
extinct Moa. This is a family friendly adventure for all ages.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Moving On Again... 1st Stop... McKee Reserve

It was finally time to move on from Nelson. 
 My friend who had been sharing my bus with 
me went home to Christchurch, I packed up 
and headed further north... My next destination 
Pohara Beach 10 km east from Takaka.
 I have family living there, my oldest daughter
and her family. They have lived in this area
for about 27 years so I have come this way
often but not in my bus before.
On the way I had to stop at one of my favourite
places - McKee Reserve. It used to be on the main
highway but not anymore, likewise Mapua and
the delicious smoked fish. A new fast road has been
built that means you have to turn off and make these
two places a special visit.

I have been stopping here for as long as I have  been
coming to Golden Bay. It has lots of 'grandchildren'
memories of playing, swimming and collecting stones.

As well as a picnic place it is a camping ground with
lots of trees and parking, toilets, cold water and showers.
I love the beach... And
the distant views... The tide is out.
Nelson in the distance nestled into the foothills.
It's a stony beach... Rocks and driftwood.
Looking north...
I wandered along the beach in both directions...

Looking for coloured stones among the many
that were washed up by the tide and all 
along the beach.

These are the few that I kept... Quite an array of
beautiful colours. I spray stones and
shells I want to keep with a spray can of polyurethane.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Kitchen Matters... And Recipies...

 Here is the promised Pumpkin Soup recipe that
I have just made and eaten for dinner.
The recipe is actually - 'Curried Pumpkin Soup
with Coconut Cream'.
I had a big Crown Pumpkin (above)
but it's also delicious made with the smaller
Butternut Pumpkins.

 I hate the hard job of peeling pumpkins so the easy
way is to roast them either cut into large 
pieces... Or whole (above) then when cool peel and
scoop out the seeds. Roasting the pumpkin
also gives a rich orange colour and
intensifies the favour.

 Here is the end result, a little cream stirred through
and some chopped parsley.

The Recipe
Aprox 3-4kg pumpkin . Bake 170deg C until soft.
In a large pot quickly fry 2 chopped onions,
as much garlic as liked, in 2 tabs olive
oil, stirring for 1-2 minutes.  Add spices -
1-2 tabs vegetable stock powder
1 teasp tumeric
1 tab ground cumin
1 tab ground corriander
1 tab garam masala
2 teasp curry powder
Cook stirring another minute.
Add pumpkin and 8-10 cups water
or less if you want it thicker.
Simmer till tender.
Take off heat, add 1x400gr can 
of coconut cream, more water if needed.
Can mash for a chunky soup or
blend for a creamier result.

 Remember my tomato plants... Well I am still
picking tomatoes. The plants are dying off
but another week and all the little green tomatoes
will be ripe and ready to pick. I have enjoyed
growing them and eating the tomatoes
on my lunch time salads.

 Another thing I have been doing is cooking up
fresh beetroot. It's much nicer than the
cans which I have been buying lately coz
I've been lazy. This is my mother's recipe-
Cook fresh beetroot till tender. Leave
to cool a little then squeeze each beetroot
gently and the skin will pop off (I wear gloves).
Cut into slices or chunks.
Brine - 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1&1/4 cups vinegar (I use cider vinegar)
1 teasp ground cinnamon
8 whole cloves
8 whole all spice
Heat till sugar is dissolved, add cooked 
beetroot and bring to boil.
Pour into container or jar.
Adjust brine ingredients to the needed amount
to fill your container. It keeps in the
fridge for ever or can seal jars
and preserve. My father used to grow
rows and rows of beetroot in his garden,
my mother bottled it into rows and rows
of jars in her cupboard.

Lately all the magazines have had recipies for
Aubergines or Eggplant.  Here is one I have tried.
Roasted Aubergine with Red Onions,Yoghurt and Lemon
4 small aubergines
150ml olive oil
3 red onions finely sliced
1 teasp ground cumin
1 teasp sumac
4 tabs Greek-style yoghurt
1 medium lemon
1/4 preserved lemon finely chopped
(I used lemon zest)
parsley for garnish
Cut each aubergine in 1/2, score surface
in criss-cross pattern. Brush with
oil, season with salt and pepper.
Place in roasting dish, bake 200deg C
for 8-10 minutes until golden & soft.
Heat remaining oil in heavy pan, add
onion, cook till soft & starting to brown, 
add cumin and sumac, cook 2 minutes.
Make a sauce - pour yoghurt into bowl
add lemon juice and zest.
Transfer aubergines to serving dish
spoon sauce over. Pile onion on top
then a little lemon zest and parsley to  garnish.
Serve as a starter or part of a whole meal.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

To Market... To Market... In Nelson

 I love going to local markets where there is all sorts 
of fresh produce and unexpected treasures.
The market in Nelson is exceptional. It has existed
for many years and grown over the years with
established craft stalls and changing seasonal stalls.

I went reasonably early in the morning to find it already
crowded. Stalls bursting with all sorts of things and
the coffee stalls humming and smelling divine.

The photo above is what I went home with...

 These licorice allsorts were an interesting find...
Edible? No, not at all. They are little blocks of
natural home-made soap.

 This Beech Honeydew is delicious... And quite differently
made from regular 'clover' or 'manuka' honey.
Little insects that inhabit the Beech tree bark product
sticky sap that hangs in fine threads from the trunks.
The bees come along and gather it and turn it 
into edible sweet honey.

Another unexpected find was two men
selling alcohol of various sorts. They were
very willing to give samples - in each hand -
of what they made. I discovered they 
have their distillery and business- Te Kiwi
 in Takaka down a little lane behind the 
Wholemeal Cafe. As Takaka is my next 
destination, when I have finished this bottle 
of Gin I succumbed to, I think I will be 
paying them a visit. Do look at their web site
linked above and if you are in the area 
calling in is a must.
Here is my rope of plaited garlic. It's found a home
among my wine glasses... Handy to where I cook
so I can use it often. I've just made roasted
pumpkin soup and a whole small bulb found its
way into the pot... Yum!
Another treat is this Waihopai
Extra Virgin olive oil... You know
the 'real' stuff. Made from Frantoio
and Leccino olives in the Waihopai Valley, 
Marlborough, It even has a batch number
and date pressed on the bottle.
Yummy for dipping with bread and Dukah.

Tomatoes, grapes, lemons, pums made up the
rest of my shopping, all fresh, spray free
and delicious.

Next blog post - recipes for what I did with the
 Abergine and the Pumpkin soup - with
a difference... If I haven't drunk too much gin!

Monday, 10 March 2014

'World Of Wearablearts'


While I was in Nelson I went to the original home of
'WOW" - 'World Of Wearableart'. The annual event
has relocated to a larger venue in Wellington
but in Nelson there is still a cafe, shop, a small display
of art and a museum of 'Collectable Cars'

 At the entrance is this amazing car...
From another elegant era of life.
 I don't know what make of car it is but some car
enthusiast who reads this might know.

 Two of the fantasy wearable
costumes from the children's
section were on display.
This one is 'Dahlia Paraphernalia'
made from satin and rhinestones.

This one is 'Ballet Chevaux -
Reinterpret The Tutu'.
It's made from wood, plastic, 
ceramic, satin and LED's.
It gained 3rd place in 2013.

 Some of the art on display along the
access way to the museum. 
I really liked this one, the
 slightly abstract style and the
bright colours.

 I also liked these two.
Creative circles within circles.

And squares within squares...
  Bright and bold...

 I was intrigued by the simplicity of this
painting... A few lines and colours
and a story has been told.

 Even outside in the carpark was some clever art...
On the outside of a long trailer...

And this was on the front of the trailer...
Looking very real and ready to drive out!