Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Home Again

 

I have been away for a few days, housesitting for a friend, but am home again now.

Mittens was so happy to see me!




Not a lot changed at home since I went away, except that Son has sprained a muscle in his back and is hobbling around hoping it will get better soon.

He has been working so hard lately, that sometimes I think Mother Nature organises these things just to make us slow down a bit.

He was happy to have me home again as well 😊

I hope everyone is having a great week,

Margaret.

 

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Liver and Bacon Hotpot

 

It seems that I may have stumbled upon a way to make liver delicious!  I always used to fry up the floured slices and serve them with sauteed onion rings.  Not anymore.

Quite by accident, I came upon a reference to someone eating a Liver and Bacon Hotpot.  It piqued my curiosity so I went searching and discovered several different recipes.

I have always “adjusted” recipes to how they suit me, and this is what I came up with:




LIVER AND BACON HOTPOT FOR TWO

Ingredients

350g potatoes

2-3 Tbsp butter

200g lamb’s liver

100g bacon (about 3 rashers streaky bacon)

100g swede (about ½ small swede)

100g carrot (about one average carrot)

1 Tbsp white flour

1 cup beef stock (or vegetable stock)

1½ tsp Dijon mustard (or use whole-grain mustard)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Peel and cut potatoes into 5mm thick slices, rinse in cold water and place into saucepan.  Pour over boiling water, bring back to the boil, and cook for 4-5 minutes until just tender.  Drain carefully, so they don’t break up, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Peel and finely dice onion, carrot and swede and set aside in a small bowl.

Chop bacon into dice and add to the vegetables.

Thinly slice the liver and add the unwashed slices to 1 Tbsp melted butter in a frying pan.  Lightly brown each slice, about 1 minute on each side.  Place into a casserole dish.

Tip the bacon and vegetables into the remaining butter in the frying pan, and cook over a moderate heat until bacon and onion are cooked, about 10 minutes.  Stir often and add more butter if needed.

Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, stir, then stir in the stock.  Add a teaspoon of mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil, stirring, then pour over the liver in the casserole dish.

Arrange potato slices on top, overlapping them neatly so they cover all of the meat.

Melt a tablespoon of butter and stir in ½ tsp Dijon mustard.  Brush gently over the potato slices.

Bake, uncovered, at 180 C until potato is browned and tender (about 45 minutes).

 

These measurements and times are only approximate.  The recipe can easily be doubled, and oil can be used instead of butter if wished.  It took me about 40 minutes to prepare the dish before cooking, and I served it with mashed potato and green peas.

This is one recipe I will definitely be making again 😊

Margaret.

 

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Only As Good

 

“A workman is only as good as his tools” was an adage my husband was fond of using – usually when trying to convince me that buying some particular tool was a good idea!

But what he was saying has a lot of truth about it.

Seven years ago I purchased an Electrolux vacuum cleaner – it was small and didn’t have a lot of suction power but it was perfect for our caravan life-style at the time.

However, the last two and a bit years it has been seeing service in a three-bedroom house with two cats that love to leave little black Fur Deposits around the house, and it has been struggling to cope.

Actually it is not only the cleaner that struggles because so do I, especially when trying to pick up the fluff off the floor.

Yesterday I reached my limit and it sent me to the laptop to do some research.  Today I went to Godfreys at The Base (and had the most friendly helpful service from Arpit) and came home with a Hoover Allergy vacuum cleaner.




Wow, what a difference it makes to the carpet!  The change is quite incredible – from having a ‘clean’ carpet, we now have a ‘looks clean like new’ carpet.  What a joy.

Having the right tools for a job is certainly true 😊

Margaret.


This blog may sound a bit like an advertisement but it isn’t.  I’m just stating what happened and am not benefitting in any way from doing so. 

 

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

It Rained!

 

Yesterday morning our drought broke with a vengeance.  Hamilton City recorded an official 84.2 mm (about three and a quarter inches) for the 24 hours, with the heaviest fall being 34.2 mm in one hour.

We did not receive as much as Auckland did, but there were still many spots of flooding around the city.

There was almost continual lightning and thunder for most of the morning (and we are forecast for more of it tomorrow), and some of our spouting had trouble at times coping with the volume of downpour.




Thankfully it had eased off a little by mid-afternoon when I had an appointment for my covid booster shot.

I still got caught in the flooding though.  What I thought was a bit of surface flooding on one corner actually turned out to be a bit deeper than that.  I reckon underneath my car is now very clean!

It is five months since I last had a covid shot, so I have gone a way over the government’s recommended three months interval but nobody said anything to me.

It has left me feeling quite tired with a slight headache and a sore arm, but I feel I am coping quite well with it.  Should be right again tomorrow.

Stay well and keep smiling 😊

Margaret.

 

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Autumnal Equinox 2022

 

About 4.30am tomorrow morning (Monday 21 March) will be the Autumn Equinox, when day and night become approximately of equal length.

For the first time in weeks, today we are having rain showers.  Yay!  Temperatures are finally dropping as well, which makes it so much easier to sleep at nights although no doubt I will soon be complaining the nights are becoming too cold!

When I drove across the city yesterday I noticed several trees, mostly poplars and gingkos, beginning to display a golden tinge over their leaves.  The oaks are more inclined to look brown.

We don’t usually get the intense autumn foliage colours here as our weather is not cold enough.

This photo was taken a few years ago in the Hawkes Bay, when we were down there on a visit.




I hope everyone is having a happy weekend 😊

Margaret.

 

Friday, 18 March 2022

Almost What I Expected

 

My brother recently had his DNA assessed by Ancestry.com to see what his ethnic genealogical composition is, and the results have now come back.

I was really interested in his results as my background will be the same, although in different proportions.


My great great grandmother, who was the grand-daughter of an Australian convict


So, what are we?

Scottish – no surprise there, as both my parents have ancestors who came from here

Irish – we know of at least one family who came from the Emerald Isle

Norwegian – we can find no immediate connection here, but perhaps they were responsible for our fair skin and red hair!

East European – predominately Ashkenazi Jewish, which was something we suspected in one family at least

And that was it.  We were both very surprised that there was no evidence of English / Anglo-Saxon there, as we have had family living in England for a couple of centuries – obviously they came from somewhere else!

Knowing all this makes absolutely no difference to our lives; it is only interesting and perhaps adds a bit of light onto our origins.

Have you ever investigated your DNA background?

Have a marvellous day 😊

Margaret.

 

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Petrol Politics

 

Our Prime Minister is a true politician.  

After the public outcry this last week over her statement that New Zealand is not facing a Cost of Living crisis, she has now announced that the government will be removing 25 cents of tax per litre from the cost of petrol to make things easier for people.  For three months, anyway.

Nothing was said about the rising cost of housing, electricity and food, as our inflation rate skyrockets.

The majority of our petrol cost is tax, with Goods and Service Tax being payable on the total amount (a long standing issue – paying tax on a tax), and the price had reached over $3.00 a litre (roughly a quarter of a gallon).

I was happy yesterday to see petrol companies had taken it on board as well, not only reducing the tax cost but also their own profit margin.  Using my 6 cent/litre grocery voucher brought the cost down to $2.60 for me when I fuelled up yesterday.

It was still an expensive exercise, but cheaper than it would have been the day before.




Our supermarket is still experiencing delivery delays and each week it seems a different set of shelves lies almost empty.  Covid isolation rules are slowly being relaxed and the general feeling seems to be that covid is reaching its peak, so hopefully things will soon return to normal again.




The sun is shining this morning and we are expecting another hot day (up to the late 20s again).  I will do all my housework stuff this morning, and am heading off to see a family member this afternoon to do some family tree research.  Should be fun.

Margaret 😊


Saturday, 12 March 2022

Sweet Chili Wedges

 

Apart from the near accident when I went with Youngest Son on Thursday, we had a lovely day out together.

We stopped for lunch at the Whiritoa General Store and Café and, between us, enjoyed a plate of crunchy Loaded Wedges with sweet chilli sauce, melted cheese and a generous dollop of sour cream.




Whiritoa is a small coastal village about half way between Waihi and Whangamata.  The beach was very pretty, especially with the sand sparkling in the sun like it was (the photo does not do it justice).




The surf was running high, with big waves dumping violently and racing up the beach.  I thought it all stunningly beautiful, but much too turbulent for me to want to swim!




I found a Blue Bottle jellyfish among the seaweed and other bits being washed ashore.




At the northern end of the beach were several mature Pohutukawa trees.  This one was growing almost on the beach.




When we drove to the other end of the beach, we could see waves crashing violently through a gap in the rocks.



I hope you are having a wonderful amazing day 😊

Margaret.

 

  

Friday, 11 March 2022

A Near Accident

 

Youngest Son needed my car yesterday, so I went along with him for the drive.  It was nice to be a passenger for a change as you get to see so much more when you don’t have to concentrate on the road.

Our drive took us through Karangahake Gorge near Waihi, a very busy road that is narrow and has multiple blind corners (it is very pretty through here as well).

This photo is an old one, but it gives some idea of what the road is like through the Gorge.  The Ohinemuri River flows along beside the left of the road.




We were approaching a corner when a truck with a shipping container onboard came around the opposite direction. 

All I saw were the tyres well over the white centre line on our side, coming over further and further and straight in front of us.  I kept thinking, Why doesn’t he move over?, Why is he still coming at us?

Youngest Son said afterwards that to him it felt like everything suddenly went into slow motion.  All he could see was a gap between the truck and the drop-off into the river, and the gap was growing smaller all the time.

He said he focused on the gap and actually accelerated to get through it while it was still there. 

I’m positive we had angels watching over us and helping us avoid a serious accident.  It was that close.

Margaret 😊

 

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Olive Tree Cafe

 

My sister-and-law and I went out to lunch together today and then had a lovely afternoon back at her place, chatting about the world and making everything as it should be (according to us!).

We went to The Olive Tree Café, a busy little place with a constant stream of customers.  Most of the food is gluten-free, which perhaps explains why my Savoury Muffin was so crumbly (but still delicious).

I had a little Orange Almond Cake afterwards, which I didn’t need, and an Iced Chocolate to drink (which I also didn’t need!), but it was all very enjoyable.




Our weather continues to be hot in the afternoons and the long-term forecast is we can expect it to remain like this for a few more weeks yet.  At least most nights are a little cooler, though, and it is possible to sleep a bit better.

I found some online jigsaw puzzles at jigsawplanet.com and have been having fun doing some of them. 

Did you know that jigsaw puzzles help to keep your mind active and lowers the chance of you developing dementia? 

Yay for jigsaw puzzles 😊

Margaret.

 

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

William Shakespeare

 

It has been a bit like Christmas around here the last couple of days. 

Son has started going through some of the boxes he had stored away for several years and we are finding all sorts of things. 

There is even a lot of things that I thought I had thrown away – it turns out, he has them!

As well as all those little bits and pieces that seem to find their way into storage boxes, there are paintings, books, and a fair number of children’s toys.

One of our most intriguing discoveries was this old book, “Sir John Gilbert’s Shakespeare.”  It was published in 1882 and belonged to my great grandfather.




The book, which features over 800 line drawings, is intact but badly in need of some restoration work.




Son intends to have it repaired as he adores old books like this and loves the provenance that goes with them.




All of Shakespeare’s plays are included in the book, and I find it difficult to believe that fifty odd years ago I actually read through all of them.

Not something I would do today!

Have a happy day 😊

Margaret.

 

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Autumn Is Coming

 

After a long hot summer, autumn is finally stirring.  Not that any trees are changing colour yet, but the nights are a little cooler and we frequently have dew on the lawn in the morning.

The heat in the sun is not quite as intense and the cats and the rats are both quite happy to sit and warm themselves in it.  When they begin growing thicker fur, we will know the season is definitely changing.




This morning was cool and very still and I was not surprised to see a hot air balloon floating in the clouds above us.  There is something fascinating about this basic form of flight, and it never fails to give me a thrill to see them pass by.




I have a new header photo for this month.  It is one I took a few years ago when visiting Tikitere (usually called Hell’s Gate) near Rotorua.

This very active geothermal area is a little daunting to visit, with things erupting and making unusual noises, but extremely interesting nevertheless.  It is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

Cheers,

Margaret 😊