Far from home

When anyone in a café, bookshop, second hand kitchen store (places I have been frequenting this week) asks me where I am from and I tell them New Zealand, they all seem to say “Oh that’s so far away”. Yes it is. New Zealand is far from everywhere, and moving away means knowing that you won’t be popping home for weekends. When I lived in Italy and was just doing nannying jobs I was very aware of the cost and distance separating me from my friends and family. But that was a few years ago and I had no sense of permanence. Everything was temporary and I knew that it wasn’t long before I would be moving on again.

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Now I feel differently. I know that we are here for a good few years. And although that is an exciting thought, it also makes me feel far from everyone. Two of the most amazing people I know just got engaged, I want to have a drink with them at the Love Shack. It is one of my most special friend’s birthday today, I want to have a long dinner around her table with bottles of her favourite chardonnay. Then in a few weeks there is the marriage of one of my kindest and calmest friends to her long time boyfriend, I hate that I am not going to be there to celebrate with them.

But this is what it is to live in a world where there is opportunity, to experince living in a new city. We have skype, emails, facebook, instagram, snapchat, to keep in touch. I even posted some letters, cards and post cards this week.

Soon I will have work, be busy, have friends I have collected around me. And for now, we have a beautiful apartment that is feeling more and more like a home.

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Making breakfast better

I only discovered bircher muesli a couple of years ago at a café on Ponsonby Road. Since then I have been mixing it up at home, trying to create a perfect recipe. At the moment, coconut and raspberries are a vital ingredient for me.

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COCONUT AND RASPBERRY BIRCHER MUESLI

2 cups oats
1 cup coconut water
1 cup natural yoghurt
1 granny smith apple julienned
½ cup coconut shavings
½ cup frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp melted honey
1 tsp cinnamon

This is as simple as combining everything together in a container that will happily live in the fridge for up to five days.  I never actually measure anything out, I just play around with amounts until the consistency seems about right. You may need to add some more liquid- water, coconut water, apple juice or yoghurt is fine- more fruit, or more oats as you desire. Some people like dried fruit in their mix, nuts are another popular addition, but I like it like this. Especially this morning with some fresh strawberries cut on top and a book in bed…

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Add some crunch to your lunch

At my family home, we often have grated things for lunch. Grated things has changed and evolved over many years, depending on who is making it, what is in season and what people feel like that day. Generally there will be at least a couple of the following: cabbage, carrots, beetroot, celery, apple, cheese, cashews, peanuts, chickpeas, red onion, chillis… the list goes on. I don’t have a grater in my new kitchen, but did some fine slicing today to make a San Fran Grated Things. I sent a picture to a salad loving friend, and she wanted the recipe- so here you are Al, enjoy!

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SAN FRANCISCO GRATED THINGS

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
1 granny smith apple
1 fennel bulb
1 stalk of celery
Handful of flat leaf parsley
Olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Tsp whole grain mustard
Salt
Rocket

Put the rinsed (don’t have a sieve so I didn’t actually do this step…) quinoa in a pot with the water, bring to the boil and then simmer until the water has all absorbed. Set aside to cool. Finely slice the apple, fennel and celery. Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil and salt and then mix it all together with the rocket and quinoa in a big bowl. Make sure you do this straight away as the apple and fennel will start to discolour if they don’t get any loving from the lemon juice. This is a very quick and easy recipe, perfect for a lunch at home with friends – just add some poached chicken, nice cheese, a loaf of bread, some wine. Or make it up the night before to take to work. It will be worth it.