Spiced peaches and learning to cook

My daughter is excited to have the first video on her new Youtube channel up and running.  She made a bunch of spiced peaches before Christmas, which we gave out as gifts to colleagues, neighbours and family.  Everyone seems to enjoy them.  We also make drunken pears and boozy fruit mince, but she didn’t record those.  I’m sure they’ll be recorded in due course.  The drunken pears are always a hit.  The boozy fruit mince tends to be successful with people of a certain generation or those that like to bake, as it’s intended to be used for Christmas cake/pudding or mince tarts.

Feel free to check it out.  There’s a link to the spiced peaches recipe on the Youtube page.  Leave your comments and likes on the actual video, so she gets to see them.

She’s already recorded two more videos that I need to edit.  She’s aiming to upload once a week.  It’s all dependent on me, of course, having the free time and energy to record her and then edit the videos for her, but she enjoys it, it keeps her busy, and the cooking ones are good practice for her.  She’s actually a pretty good cook.  She made chili last night, which we had as burritos and then I had some today with salad for my lunch.  Yum.  She probably makes dinner about four times a week on a normal basis.  My teenage son probably makes dinner twice a year.  *FacePalm*

When I left home to go flatting, I could make a roast dinner, and follow a recipe.  I used to make muffins, etc., for my flatmates.  One of my flatmates didn’t know how to cook at all.  My husband was a very good cook by the time he left home, partly because he’d had to fend for himself as his parents worked a lot, and partly because his parents were both in the food industry.  He’s still a better cook than I am.  I am slowly starting to veer away from using recipes and making things ‘a la Elle’, which is a big step for me.

When did you learn to cook?  Do you have a signature dish?  Mine is probably rice risotto.  It’s the only non-meat dish my husband really enjoys.  Win for me!  Sometimes I do it with bacon just to change it up.  I’m really good at steak too.  I’m better at cooking steak than my husband is, even though I like mine well done.  My husband’s signature dish is slow roast lamb, and his pork belly is to die for.  Man, I’m hungry now!

Tiritiri Matangi dawn chorus

Before a sleepy, disheveled sun even thinks about poking her nose over the horizon, the first calls go out. A cheery wake up song to start a day of industrious productivity. As the sky lightens, first to a dull charcoal, then slowly, persistently, to a stunning, vivid blue, the chorus of melody grows stronger and louder. Sweethearts are courted with flirtatious serenades, and materials are meticulously gathered for the construction of homes in anticipation of future families.

Childhood Memories of a Younger Sister

Tiny gumboots
plodding ’round the paddocks,
each sun-kissed freckle testament
to another adventure,
Puppy scampering at your side.

Catching tadpoles in the dam,
each tiny captive carefully transported
to the water trough
nearest the house.

Morbid curiosity when
the mobile butcher visits.
No pampered city kids.
Witness even to the miracle
of a new calf born
on Hancock’s farm,
just behind the haybarn.

Hand reared lambs,
tails spinning madly as
they suckle greedily on the teat.
Misty, Pebbles, and Bam Bam.
Calves that slurp and slobber
over outstretched fingers.

Dusty bike rides down gravel roads
to Tomarata Lake
for a swim with no parental supervision.
Carefree fun,
but you soon emerge with blue lips
and shivering limbs,
to bake under the summer sun.

Trying to catch eels
off the old bridge,
and training
for cross country
in a circuitous loop.

Hiding in the toetoe bushes,
sharp blades of grass a warning
not to linger.
The bobby calf pens
make sturdier huts,
but the hay bales in the barn
are more comfortable still.

You loved playing with
the high pressure hose,
gleefully clearing the muck
from the cowshed.
But better yet was sitting,
nattering,
on the cowshed roof
or on the top of the water tank.
Sitting in the loquat tree,
stuffing our faces until our stomachs groaned
and Mum told us off
for ruining our appetites for dinner.

Hiding on the trampoline from
a wayward sheep
intent on butting us all into next week.
Carefully watching snorting bulls
from behind the safety of the fence.
The big orange hereford
gave us the willies.
Trespassers welcome,
the bulls will charge you later, the sign said.
Carefully walking the boards
at the cattle yards,
listening to the auctioneer prattle
while we eyed up the meanest cattle.

A day in the saddle,
riding out to Lawrence Road,
comfortable,
companionable.

Lying on our backs
in the verdant grass,
listening to the cows
chew the cud,
and dreaming
of distant days.