Sunday, February 27, 2011

Our part in the Christchurch Earthquake

It is so difficult to be a 40 min drive from Christchurch when there are so many people in need there.  We have been feeling a bit helpless and frustrated.

But, we discovered "The Rangiora Earthquake Express", an awesome group of people, with helicopter, who are flying goods and food into the worst hit suburbs, from dawn till dusk.  A round trip including loading and unloading is 1/2hr.  We made two dinners, a big salad, picked some grapefruit off our tree, and then headed to the Rangiora Welfare Centre.  There they gave us a list of items that were needed.  So we went to the good old Warehouse and bought batteries, nappies, and baby food and took them to the helicopter.

What an inspirational sight!  As we were there the helicopter arrived, was filled and flew away.  Plus I think they were trucking trailerloads of gear into town also.

Here's some links, including to some bad footage I took on my cellphone, with the sound of the chopper in the background.

and the facebook page for the Express

Go forth and do your work!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Green Beans - freezing freeflow

Picked the first amount of green beans today, here's how to freeze them.

Cut off the heads and tails, and either slice or cut into 2inch lengths.  Bring a pot of water to the boil, and dunk the beans in, boiling about one minute.  Drain in a colander and run with cold water to stop the steam when freezing.

Cover an oven tray with tinfoil, and lay the beans in a single layer on the foil.  Put into the freezer overnight, and the next day pop into a bag and back into the freezer.

You can then use them as and when you need, without defrosting, just pop straight into boiling water for a few minutes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Red Chilli and Pepper Relish

I first tasted this fiery relish at my friend Jan de Voer's house, she had these marvelous jars of red, jammy, sticky, hot relish which we ate with cheese on crackers, with a devine result.  The original recipe comes from the books "Beach Bach Barbeque" or something similar, however I put more chillis in just because I like hot food.

Today, I put my hand to it:


4 Large Red Capsicums
2 Onions, peeled and chopped roughly
1 large fresh red chilli, deseeded (I used 3!)
3 cloves Garlic
2c White Vinegar
800g sugar
salt to tast
2 kaffir lime leaves (or a lemon leaf from your lemon tree will do nicely)
1 bay leaf

Put the capsicums, onions, chillis and garlic in a food processor and whizz till the whole lot is a pulp.  Put pulp into a saucepan and add vinegar.  Cook about 20mins, then add the sugar, about 1t salt and the leaves.  Cook about 30 mins till thick.  Spoon into steralised jars.  Makes about 5 cups.

Will keep for 1 year while in the jar, and about 6 weeks in the fridge after opening.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Our new home - in Amberley

Finally, I have for you all, some pictures of our house in Amberley.  You can see we have a lot of land, lots of wayward grass, and not a lot else going on.

A new chook house and run have been built and we pick our new chook girls up next Friday.  I am so happy, I miss our chookies, and their lovely eggs.  Having to make do with supermarket eggs has not been the same.  Short note here: in the USA apparently they like their yolks white-ish and my brotherinlaw said he couldnt eat fried eggs/poached eggs/boiled eggs/omlettes because they just didnt look like eggs, dammit!

After Christmas we built a couple of rather large vege beds, and Mark's passion for potatoes shows.  We have also eaten lettuces, spring onions and spinach from this garden already.  The only thing really not doing well, are the beans which have been hit hard by the hot wind, and aren't going to do anything much.