Thursday, 28 April 2011

At Least There's Not a Drought

It's school holidays - and predictably the weather is appalling! It's rained heavily for days and a lot of the North Island is flooding. People are being rescued from camping grounds by the army in the middle of the night, or sitting huddled in cars waiting for rescue. At 1 minute 35 of this news bulletin is my Facebook buddy Sarah, being evacuated from Ocean Beach - very scary!

The 'rescuee's' view from the back of the army's unimog! Thanks Sarah for letting me use the pic.

How bizarre that seems to me as I sit huddled over my fire. I live on the flat, apparently my tiny town is in a bit of a 'dip' too - yet in spite of torrential rain - we're safe and sound - so far.

I wonder what it is that makes some places prone to flooding and others more resistant? When we were buying one of our Tawa houses, we were told it was in the 100 year flood plan (but that was good because it used to be in the 50 year flood plan), meaning that every 100 years or so, it was expected to be affected by the local Kenepuru stream going haywire. Later, we were told that because the council had done such a lot of work on the water catchment up in the hills, there was really no risk of flooding in our area anymore...a relief at the time...thank you WRC! I'm hoping that this is the case here in my wee piece of paradise! The Tararua's (our local mountain range) are well known for receiving enormous amounts of rain - so someone, sometime must've thought ahead I think - stay tuned!!

I have had to have the fire going a lot though and man has that been a mission - don't get me started about my 'woodman'! For a few days my woodburner burned brilliantly (when I didn't REALLY need it), then on Monday - when the weather turned cold, it decided to become temperamental - and therefore, so did I! The darned thing won't stay burning no matter what I do or which way I hold my tongue, so it has now become my daily challenge to beat it into submission. Doesn't help that my beautifully stacked 100 year old pine wood is WET and huge...see I told you not to get me started about the 'woodman'. I cleaned a whole shopping bag of ash from the bottom yesterday, having decided that would cure the problem - WRONG!

Don't be fooled by the photo! It looked like this before I left the house for an hour, when I came back, it was barely smoldering - and I was really smoldering!

So, while I have been battling with the 'fire from hell', I've also had Foodtv on almost constantly (to escape Royal Wedding Fever on every other channel) and I have to say I LOVE the NZ cooking shows, particularly Kai Ora. Anne Thorp creates such amazing dishes and the whole programme just makes me want to move to the beach and eat seafood forever. My fare is a little less exciting (or expensive) however - but perhaps a little more realistic for most people. Last night I used two of my favourites, potatoes and sausages to create what my children always called Koo Potatoes (because the first time I made it for lunch about 15 years ago, their dad finished his and said 'koo that was good!'. The best thing about Koo Potatoes is that it is different every time I make it.

Last night, I microwaved 2 Agria potatoes in their skins and cooked 4 Moroccan Lamb sausages - they're called slims, so they are long and skinny, then sliced both (the sausages on the diagonal just so there are different shapes). I sauteed an onion in my delicious local Stone Valley Leccino olive oil, along with a shake of red chilli flakes, then added the potato, sliced red pepper, sliced leek, and a couple of chopped mushrooms I'd found on my back lawn and sauteed them as well. Once the vegetables were almost done, I threw in some coarsely chopped parsely (I like to see the green), some freshly ground black pepper (because of the salty sausages, it doesn't pay to add salt) and the sausages...made sure it was all hot...then ate it. YUM.

There are so many variations to this basic potato dish. Any sausage or salami will do although I like to use the more strongly flavoured varieties. Add any herbs or spices (be a little thoughtful) and anything in the veg line that you have in the fridge or garden. I often put it into an oven dish, sprinkle over quite a lot of grated cheese and grill it briefly, remove from the oven and add a good dollop of sour cream.

A small amount of the mixture stirred into a frittata mix is delicious and it is great the next day. I would've added a photo, but ate most of it last night and the rest for breakfast before I decided to mention it in my blog...but since it changes every time, I'm sure you can use your imagination!


  1. wow what a great blog

  2. there is some great words in here

  3. Pleased you enjoyed it Noah!