Month: May 2010

Girls in short short skirts, boys in skirts too!

For a good time in Dunedin people flock, yes flock I say, to the netball.  There must have been a thousand people there and most of these are regulars who go every time there is a game on.  Our team The Southern Sting, played tonight in the Edgar Stadium and whipped the opposition, who I think were called the Melbourne Vixen, someone will tell me if I am wrong.  Sorry the score was written in numbers and I don’t remember numbers but we won by a lot.   It was a great way to spend an evening and even though I am not an avid follower of the netball in general, it is excellent to go to a game.  There are lots of reasons to go:

  • It was a free night out, my lovely partner won tickets.
  • It is really really warm in the Edgar Centre which is lovely if you are a Dunedinite
  • There is much fun to be had looking at the crowd with their very loud and in my case rapidly deflating ‘thundersticks’.  Is it true that they re-use them?  Surely not?
  • The game is quite good to watch, great skills and fast moving.  Grown women being violent against each other in the context of sport has a certain charm.  The combination of short short skirts, and sheer athleticism is rather good.  Those women fly through the air and occasionally get really badly hurt, and this is a non-contact sport!

The half time entertainment was the Selwyn Ballet, a Dunedin tradition.  First year university students from Selwyn Residential Hall are trained up each year to perform in the Capping Show and tonight they also performed at the netball.  They were fabulous.

Southern Sting warm up

Here are the netball players warming up for the second half and the Selwyn boys working their magic on the crowd.  (I see my poor old camera’s shortcomings in these photos!)

Selwyn Ballet

Red Riding Hood as you haven’t seen her before

This fantastic little film came to me via Books for Hotties which is a very cool blog with a penchant for all things Grim Brothers at the moment.  Check it out it is fantastic, love the photos of grim characters in this post.  I’m rapidly becoming very keen on short films, seen quite a lot of them in recent months and have posted some on here, like this one.  Maybe that will be one of my goals for next year, to watch 100 short films.  Anyway enjoy Red Riding Hood, find out how a human eye is constructed, the nutritional value of Riding Hood’s basket and other most interesting stuff.  I think it most cute!

The animator is Tomas Nilsson  http://www.tomas-nilsson.se/index.html
The music: http://www.smk.just.nu/

Creamy Lentil & Vegetable Soup

Okay, so the title is not something that makes you leap into the air and say to yourself, “Oh yay!  Lets have lentil soup, yum!”  but actually that is what should happen.  This is one of those soups for when you need to be warm, toasty and coddled.  It is full of veg so is great for a week when 5 a day has gone out the window, in this household that is when there are lots of meetings and show and sport practices which go way too late.  Make up a double batch at the weekend and keep it in the fridge or freezer and heat as required.  (I am not involved in the sport practices just in case there was any concern there.)

Now the deal is, you can add and subtract ingredients as you want especially the flavourings, I tend to put curry powder in it instead of garam masala and paprika but whatever it will all be good.  Use what is to hand, maybe make it once according to the rules and then mess around with it.

So here it goes.  The recipe is from Alison Holst’s Soup Book which is like a bible for soup.

1 cup red lentils, 25g butter, 1 or 2 onions, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, 1 or 2 carrots, 1 or 2 stalks of celery, 1tsp ground or not cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp garam masala and paprika, 2 -4 Tblsp cream, 2 tblsp cornflour, 1 cup of frozen peas about 1 cup of chopped tomato, 1 tblsp sugar, 1 – 11/2 tsp of salt about 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs.

As soon as you think about making the soup measure the lentils and 1 litre of hot tap water into a bowl to soften them.  Melt the butter in a large pot, add garlic, carrots, celery.  If you are going to puree it leave them in big bits or chop them small.  Add spices, cook over moderate heat stiring occasionally for 2 – 3 min but don’t let the veg go brown.  Add the lentils and hot water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Puree all, or part, or none of the mixture then bring back to the boil.

Mix as much of the cream (yoghurt works well too) as you like to a paste with the cornflour and a little extra water and pour into the soup.  Add peas (I don’t) and the chopped tomato.  Add sugar, salt to taste and the fresh herbs (it is winter Alison this will be parsley at best!).

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan – or not. and serve with hot toast or the fantastic bread I will now tell you how to make.

Slice a big loaf of tiger bread or vienna or some kind of bread into chunky slices.  Heat up the grill, put the bread on tray, butter or marge on one side, grate or sprinkle parmesan over the top liberally and cook till it bubbles.  Yum.

YouTube Turns 5

I saw this and I thought, wow!  only 5?  YouTube is so embedded in out lives now that it feels to me like it has been around so much longer than that.  In all the social media tools I use I’m always shocked if something I’m looking for isn’t on YouTube, I’m always confident that I can find things like songs from the musicians I like, trailers for movies I’m interested in seeing and useful tools for work on there.  It has become such a tool in education that even our local Polytechnic have lessons on there for students.  Teachers in our school use videos from YouTube all the time in their lessons and I use Common Craft’s explanatory videos in the library often.  What did we do before?  Showing clips from YouTube has become ubiquitous,  just part of life.  I find it incredible to think that it’s only been five years since we started to use it.  I guess Facebook will be the same eventually.  Used as a advertising tool, to promote yourself and anything else you can think of.  I wonder what’s next?  I wonder how soon until YouTube is replaced by another tool and we look back and think “Oh YouTube, that is so 2010”.

YouTube have made a clip to celebrate their 5 year old birthday.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This book is told from the point of view of a dog called Enzo.  Enzo tells the story of his life which is also the story of the life of his family, and it is told from the end of this life.  Beginning at the time he is picked up from the rural property he comes from through to his last day this is all from the point of view of someone who is about as tall as your thigh.  Enzo is wise, he sees the things the adults can’t see, he feels everyones pain even if he doesn’t always understand why people act so stupidly and treat each other so badly.

Enzo is reflecting on his life knowing he is about to die.  Enzo is his master Denny’s dog at heart and he has felt Denny’s trials and tribulations and knows his dreams.  Denny wants to race cars professionally and Enzo and Denny watch endless races together on video and he watches television while he is at home during the day, then Denny gets a family and life happens to them all.

This book is sad, funny, heart warming and wonderful.  I just loaned it to a friend and she has recommended it to another.  It is one of ‘those’ books.  I thought about it a lot when I had finished it, it is a book that stays with you.  Lovely stuff.  I want more from Garth Stein.

Watch the book trailer here

Spamalot – Bayfield Style

My darling son is about to tread the boards again in the Bayfield High School Musical.  Tonight they were featured on our local news on Channel 9.  Having watched lots of the YouTube clips of Spamalot I’m looking forward to seeing the show preformed by the Bayfield troupe.  Opening night is Wednesday and the Dress Rehearsal for a local intermediate school is on tomorrow, the show runs until Saturday night.

You can see the clip of the interview starring the marvelous ‘other’ son Ethan in a kingly moment in this report.  Below an image from the clip but you will have to go the the link to see it.

Incredibox – this is fun

Incredibox is a wee interactive thingy which lets you make music with different effects.  You get to play with sound effects, voices and all manner of twiddly bits such as beat box, percussion and chorus.  The info on the site says that you will discover the magical universe of ‘The incredible Polo’, be that as it may, it is very cute for a while.  Play it next to a teenage boy and you are likely to have harm done to you (or to your laptop).

Here is the website

That ‘bed-making’ advertisement (version #2)

(With thanks to Bob for the heads up)

I’m in love with a tv commercial.  I know, it’s pathetic, I feel patheticness oozziinngg out of my pores.  You know, the ad with the beds, the new one, with all the housemaids making the beds, it is for a company called Expedia – a cruise around YouTube indicates that they do a lot of very cool commercials.

Want to watch the ad to see what I mean well here is the link.

It isn’t really the ad in itself that is in my brain, rather the music.  The music is so lush and gorgeous and comes from Elliot Wheeler and singer who is not  Melanie Horsnell, as I originally thought it was, and indeed who is on the clip below, but Caitlin Park and crikey is Caitlin lovely to listen to, clip also inserted below now.  If you go to her Myspace page listen to So Annie, it’s just perfect!  If you like the Be Good Tanyas you should listen to this.

The song has been in my mind going on a loop since the first time I saw it, and I just had to mount an investigation to find out what it was.  So, the song turns out to be called ‘Tend To Me’ (and that alone is enough to have me in a mushy heap) but seriously, isn’t that just lovely, a drippingly romantic title I think. So, this is the story with the bed-making ad.  Here is Caitlin Park.

Re: Elliot and Melanie have made a grand cd collaboration called Forever Thursday some of which can be downloaded from iTunes. (I will investigate that fully later when I clear a space on my ipod – 3 gig is not enough I have discovered.)

Here are Forever Thursday.

Cappuccino Date Slice

This recipe is from Jo Seagar originally but I have adjusted it a little bit.  Jo is a butteraholic and while it makes all of her recipes fantastically rich and rewarding I’m trying to cut down, so a little alteration has been necessary.  Enroute to the North Island in the summer we went to Seagars at Oxford and had afternoon tea with our lovely friend Judith.  It was spectacular, really, go there, and have Hot Chocolate and yummy things of many kinds.  In the meantime you can make this slice though.  It only uses one mixing bowl which is a great bonus.  The original is on the website above and I got it from my copy of Jo Seagar Cooks – one of the most used books in my kitchen.

Heat oven to 150 degrees, line a rectangular tin with baking paper.

To make the Base: 2 eggs, 1 cup brown sugar, 120g butter, 1/2 cup of milk, 3 tblsp of very strong coffee, 1 cup dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces, 1.5 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add everything else and mix well to combine thoroughly.  Spread into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.  When it is cool put on the icing below.

The Coffee Icing (possibly the best bit)

2 cups of icing sugar, 2 tblsp very very strong coffee, small knob of butter, boiling water.  Make icing in the usual way.  The stronger the coffee taste the better if you ask me.

A Single Man

Colin Firth is marvelous in this film, even if you only ever thought of him as a romantic comedy guy this film will make you see that he is indeed, a real actor.  The opening scene of a man in a suit walking very assuredly toward a man who has obviously been thrown from a car and killed, and lying down in the cold snow beside the body is totally spare and moving.  The film is the story of George Falconer, a professor of English,  whose partner has been killed and who can’t face life without him.  He has given up hope and has decided to kill himself.  His dear friend played by Julianne Moore is a drunken expat Brit who has that tired air about her.  She drinks all night and sleeps all day and bemoans her life.  These two depend on each other.  The whole movie is sad and there is an air of anger about it.  The absolutely best moments are when George lectures his students on the subject of fear.

Tom Ford has made a movie which is beautiful and arty to look at, but at the same time very accessible and not self indulgent.  Excellent, I look forward to his next movie.

Fusion Restaurant and Coffee Bar

Do you like Lebanese food?  Want to try something new!  Then I highly recommend heading along George Street, Dunedin to the gorgeous setting of Fusion.  Not only is the food spectacularly yummy, filling and moreish, the decor is so styly, the staff so nice and friendly and best of all there are seats to be had on a Saturday night.

We ordered a mezze platter which was enormous – I mean enormous, and then we each ordered chicken kebabs which came with lovely flatbread, salad, tiny cubed roasted potatoes which tasted of cinnamon and spices, hummus with garlic sauce in the middle of it.  There was so much food, and it was so delicious.  We had to take doggy bags home with us which was enough for two people’s lunch.  Best of all is the long cool drinks.  I will be back very soon for a drink and a mezze platter to share, I highly recommend the minty lemonade, divine.

I feel I need to mention the decor more fully.  The room is totally white, except for the lovely richly patterned wallpaper near the bar, there are transparent chairs and ruby red chairs with thick acrylic white tables.  Along one wall is a wide bench with round bolster cushions in colours of turquoise, ruby red and gold.  Seriously this is style central.

Arabic Coffee - yum!

We have one of those voucher books, they cost $50 and have vouchers for all manner of things from movies, to funparks in Australia.  We think the trick is to get your money back quick so that then anything you get after that is a bonus.  So we saved $25 on Friday night and are now officially half way there.  Without the voucher book we would never have known about Fusion, or certainly not have gone for dinner there, and now we intend to try heaps of the other places.

So, all in all I have a new fave place to go.  I recommend you try it out too if you are in Sunny Dunedin.

It is just opposite Knox Church on George Street, and you can phone them to make  a booking on 03-477 7796

Photo from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yosoynuts/3281338673/

Jules Lund’s photographic adventure

Look how pretty it is down here Dunedin way.  This came to me via DunedinNZ’s Facebook page, and I am impressed.  Actually because of them I won tickets to Wuthering Heights on Saturday night but more on that later.  Sometimes when you live in Dunedin you forget how marvellous it is.  Luckily we import people from overseas to show us, including my friend Adrienne from the fantastic blog on the sidebar here, Dunedin Is For Lovers.  I love this clip, just look at the gorgeousness of it all, and notice that the new sculpture polluting our shoreline isn’t mentioned in here.  Oh yes I know some like it, there really is not accounting for taste, but Dunedin and her surrounds are pretty danm pretty and we have some great places to go see which are really close to town and won’t kill you to get there.  I probably need to rule out Sandfly Bay here as the trip out will actually come close to killing you.  Anyway check out this video.

UPDATE:  The video has been removed from YouTube.  That’s a bit sad.