Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Wonderful Teensy Amp


I got the most wonderful thing from my lovely husband for my birthday (which was forever ago, but it's taken me rather a long time to be organised enough to use my lovely gift...). It's a teensy guitar amp, masquerading as a golden syrup tin. Genius. 

My brother's friend makes them. This guy can craft a teensy amp out of anything. Initially he had a chamomile tea tin we brought back from Canada (he he...I love the irony of an amplifier inside a tin meant for the most peaceful of teas!), unfortunately the tin didn't quite have the structural integrity required, hence the replacement. Which is fine, as I do love golden syrup ;) 

Anyhow, my lovely teensy amp has been sitting, lonely, on my dressing table for a few months now...not because I didn't desperately want to give it a whirl, just that I never managed to fit it into my day (silly, silly woman that I am...). Then, a few weeks back, I read this great post by FaerySarah at BobbyRobin - and knew EXACTLY what she meant. Jarvis and I leapt into the car and went straight to town, to visit the (horribly overpriced) music shop and get a lead (that was the main problem I faced in getting the amp going, it's been that long since I plugged in I didn't actually have a lead any more...). 

We zoomed back home, and I examined my teensy amp, trying to figure out what on earth the power supply was going to be. Usually a good idea to do this before going into town for supplies. By happy coincidence, it runs off the same battery which powers smoke alarms. No, I didn't whip a smoke alarm down and steal the battery ;)  When the firemen came last month, they informed me that I actually had far too many smoke alarms for our house, so gave me one back to pop away for a rainy day, leaving me with one spare smoke alarm battery. Sweet. 

A happy afternoon ensued, filled with songs I love and should play and sing far more often. Happiness is my guitar, a teensy amp, and a huge back catalogue of Gillian Welch and Ryan Adams. Magic. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rosehip Syrup??

No, you're not imagining things, the bottle in the photograph is, indeed, empty. This is what happens when you try to multi-task whilst making rosehip syrup!

I've been waiting for weeks for the rosehips to ripen. Going out every day & giving them a squeeze, distracting my lovely assistant from pulling them all off and throwing them to (at?) the chickens. Rosehip syrup is a gorgeous way of getting some extra vitamin c, without all of the extra acid which comes from eating ten thousand mandarins!

Anyhow, on Monday I went out with my basket & my assistant, and harvested about 100 grams of juicy, red rosehips. (Thankfully...) the rest of them aren't ready yet, hopefully in a week or so. 

It's a super easy process...(well it should be, anyway!). I don't think the amounts are so important, so long as you keep the proportions about right. You don't really need the spices, but I like them :) 

100g ripe red rosehips
A few cloves
A cinnamon stick
300ml or so of water

Crush the rosehips, and put them in a pan with the spices & water. Simmer for 20 minutes or so. Strain out the solids, then add about as much sugar (I guess honey would work too, but we didn't have any!) as there is liquid. Stir 'til dissolved, bring to the boil, and simmer for ten minutes or so. DO NOT WALK AWAY!!! 

Needless to say, I walked away...when I returned I had what resembled rosehip toffee. A dark, viscous liquid bubbling madly in my little le creuset milk pan (a wonderful trade me score, that!). I went with it, poured it out onto some baking paper, then smashed it up into a mysterious rosehip toffee/spun sugar creation. Not exactly what I had in mind, it tasted pretty good, totally unsuitable for getting a bit of vitamin c into Jarvis, but an interesting experiment nonetheless. Thank goodness for the rest of the rosehips being unripe, or I would have destroyed the whole crop! 

Hopefully before too long my lovely little potion bottle will have rosehip syrup in it. Until then, we'll continue to eat ten thousand mandarins a day ;) 

Monday, June 14, 2010

An afternoon at the playground

Time for a sandwich after much swinging...

Whoops...overbalanced whilst shoving seven or so sandwiches into his wee mouth ;)

I'm Back!

Goodness me, it seems to be almost a month since I've written anything! My apologies - no excuse really, just a whole lot of pursuing one small, but very fast, boy around the yard. 

Last weekend we attempted a family getaway to Wellington, kind of a post-vintage escape that Shane & I try to fit in every year once the winemaking madness settles down. This year we took along my mother for the trip, a bit of a holiday for her, and someone to mind Jarvis while we went out for our first meal in a restaurant in 14 months. 

Unfortunately our trip was somewhat foiled by a horrible tummy bug we must have picked up before we left home - we both started feeling terrible on Thursday night (we were going to Wellington on Friday morning!), and have only just come right in the past couple of days! We soldiered on though, regardless of pain & suffering. 

Thankfully, Jarvis missed out on the bug completely and had a fabulous time! 

Jarvis investigating some modern art, outside Te Papa...

He approves!

What started off as my smoothie, someone else had a different idea though...

We couldn't resist the ride on buzzy bee. It was outside a touristy honey shop (I'm sure the people inside were miffed that we were happy to ride their bee, but not come in!), and he adored it!! 

Wandering the rainy streets with Daddy, whilst waiting on our breakfast at Ernesto's. A lady was out doing the street cleaning in her fluoro orange raincoat, Jarvis ran over to say hi and have a chat about what she was up to. Very, very cute. Unfortunately the breakfast wasn't quite as good as we'd had at the Nikau cafe & Floradita's, disappointing as it was the first morning we'd actually felt like eating! 

Despite illness, Shane & I were hell bent on going out for dinner. It was probably the shortest lived dinner date in all of history - we went to the lovely Boulcott St Bistro, both finished about half of our entrees & mains, felt rather worse for wear, and slowly wandered back to the hotel! I did manage to drink my glass of champagne though. There was absolutely no way I was leaving that restaurant without enjoying my Taittinger. 

The other foiler of our expedition was the weather - plans of visiting the zoo & investigating the wonderful playgrounds in the city just couldn't happen. Grrrr. Luckily with Shane's folks living in Palmerston North, we can probably swing a daytrip sometime to go visit the animals. 

Weather & illness aside, at least we had something resembling a holiday! And after discovering yesterday that Rufus Wainwright is playing in October, we're going to try and get back to Wellington, just for the night, to see him (so long as I'm fast enough to get tickets...I missed the presale...). Hopefully a more successful venture? Send good ticket vibes to me on Wednesday morning ;)