Local Heart, Global Soul

March 3, 2012

Step-by-Step Bread in Your BBQ!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My cousin “P” in Christchurch, New Zealand is a fellow Foodie. He’s got a large BBQ that has a close-down lid which he and his wife “G” use ..to bake bread!

Having proved his dough he asked Kiwi Daughter if she wanted to make some shapes before putting it in the oven.

She tried her hand at a plait (braid), a smilie face and a knot that didn’t quite knot. (or should I have maybe phrased that instead as a “knot that knotted not” ? )

Soon all the pieces were ready to be put onto the unglazed tile that was already pre-heating in the BBQ, then a lid went down and we let it do it’s stuff.

A very short time later, Et Voila! Freshly baked bread… very hot out of the oven… we let it cool a little and then dig in with “P’s” home-made dukka and some olive oil.

Kiwi Daugher wants to help me when I attempt to make bread back in The Netherlands. We will have to do some improvising since our BBQ doesn’t have a lid.

I forsee some tile hunting will be necessary too and maybe our oven will have to surfice, but watch this space for Kiwidutch’s first steps into bread adventures sometime in the future. Let’s see how Kiwi Daughter’s first efforts fared…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


February 25, 2012

Weird Science with Cans, Fish Tanks and Lamb Chops all Help with Bouncing Back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The evening of 23rd December 2011, after a tumultuous afternoon full of tears, fears and children’s general earthquake meltdown, we decided to try and lighten the evening by going ahead with the BBQ that we had already planned with friends.

Little Mr. wasn’t keen on going inside their house, (well any house at that point, actually) but was enticed by the very down to earth and matter of fact attitude of our friends daughter and foster daughter.

We had a chat to both privately about our kid’s afternoon reactions and they were quick to tell us kind heartedly that they would be sure take great care of them whilst they were playing together and would be careful to make sure that they felt really safe.

We arrived as our friends were cleaning up the mess that the quake had once again given them… the most pressing had been the rescue of the family goldfish, the tank got shaken off the chest of drawers it was on and toppled onto the floor.

Quick thinking and even faster action saw the girls save the fish, now all that remained was to clear up the sodden books on the bookshelf, dry out the wall and carpet and general cleanup of everything that had been displaced by the shaking.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Outside the Dad of the family was cleaning up by the garage door… there had been a neat stack of full soft drink cans sitting between a sturdy wood cupboard and the spare fridge-freezer and multiple cans  exploded, somehow the force of the liquid ripped the can open around the tab line and everything blew out under pressure.

What was particularly bizare was that although the concrete garage floor was a mess with various overflowed soft drink puddles, the cans themselves looked completely undented on the sides , and expect for the obvious damage near the tabs there was no evidence that that they had been squashed or even slightly dented at any point at all.

I’m supposing that the speed and force of the vibrations though the ground must have been enough to jiggle the contents to bursting point as no other logical explaination fits.

The cans had been neatly stacked between two solid objects and maybe because they lacked the space to allow movment in any direction except “up”, all the energy was concentrated in that direction? Hmm who knows, and stupidly  I forgot to take any photos of the cans but it was certainly some of the strangest earthquake damage they had seen so far.

The Kiwidutch kids were pleased to help out with the fish tank drama and relaxed visibly before dinner. The reassuring words and gung-ho attitude of the host girls,  did wonders as these Christchurch kids  brushed off fear completely ( publicly at least) and just got on with life.

I’m really proud of them because they are living in a house with some horrendous cracks in the walls, foundations and ceilings. In fact part of the house has sunk and is breaking away from the rest of the house and with each cluster of bigger aftershocks it’s getting worse.

In spite of this they are living in a zone classed as “Green”(deemed fit for repair) but massive repiling of their house will be necessary as well as other damage repair and there is now a battle between CERA and their Insurance company as to who is liable for what, so the whole situation is really stressful and there is little hope (realistically) of a quick solution.

They have every right to be completely and utterly stressed but are soldioring on as best they can whilst  they wait for the repairs to begin.  I’m amazed they re handling it as well as they are.  I’m not altogether sure that I would be.

When we talked about what we fancied on the menu several days ago, the subject of lamb chops came up as a suggestion from us. We then learned that the price of lamb has gone up considerably  in New Zealand recently and it’s been a shock for our lamb loving friends, so it’s been religated to “treat” status.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m afraid that when I heard the prices they mentioned I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud … and when I told them what we  paid for lamb chops and leg roasts in The Netherlands they were truly horrified. (between double and triple the price)

We therefore  very happily arranged that our contribution to the meal would be lamb chops and when we arrived with three trays of them they almost fainted… “we will never manage all those” they said… but they were sooo good, from BBQ to table they didn’t stand a chance as  we lamb-chop deprived diners enjoyed every last one of them.

Kiwi Daughter was now more relaxed and wanted to go on the trampoline, she took turns with the other girls but Little Mr was still in scared limpet mode so we didn’t push him to participate.

The Dad of the house then said to Kiwi Daughter, lets do some tricks on the trampoline together.. she was a little nervous at first as they had to bounce in complete synchronisation… he held her left hand with his right hand and when they got to a decent height he gave her a big boost with his arm on the up-bounce an she flew up really high. He was of course still hanging onto her hand so she was in no danger of flying off anywhere.

Once she mastered the technique of the synchronised bounce , she even managed to dare to reach out with her other hand on the big up-bounce to touch the fronds of the punga tree above.

I’ve managed to master the art of exceptionally bad photo-editing to show you a shot of the up-bounce trick without actually showing the participants. No, they aren’t ghosts, even though Kiwi Daughter’s face did a good impression of one earlier in the day during the more frightening moments.

In fact earlier in the day she was so scared she felt physically sick… I’ve made a new word for this phenomonon… I told her she had a “bellyquake”.

It’s nice to see her trying so hard to be brave, and finally letting out a few squeals of delight as she managed to touch the tree above… kids are nothing if not resilient, and Christchurch Kids have had to be more resilient than most since September 2010. Bravo to them all.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 14, 2010

The Mechanics of getting your Chops into the BBQ…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

What is it about  most grown men and a BBQ?

Himself hasn’t joined this club, he hates BBQing  and would much rather that I do it. So needless to say when The BBQ at the house at Hanmer doesn’t function properly I am delighted when several sets of our friends turn up in time for dinner and the menfolk of the two families set to the repair work, happily start wiggling and jiggling the various components and talking blocked valves and gas bottle parts with satisfied grins on their faces.

It gets better when we call Jason from the management company, he’s the boss and even though the evening is getting on, he’s over at our place in a jiffy with a replacement gas bottle. He joins in the avid conversation about possible BBQ ailments and possible cures.

In the end it appears that the problem persists even with a new gas bottle, so the tinkering continues. Jason leave us to it… He sees that it’s in the good hands of our Kiwi blokes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The “boys”  make progress and the gas bottle end eliminated as a cause of the problem… now just to  work out the mechanics of why the gas only seems now to be making it to half of the BBQ burners.

Bits come off the machine, are checked and  after a small delay  the BBQ is reassembled. A few more pokes and prods… Voila, we have fire!  The Boys smiles grow even bigger. The machine has been conquered.

Now they are animated and happy, the plate is cleaned, olive oil is out and  the meat is hitting the hotplates. The Kiwi menfolk take total charge  of cooking it and Himself is most happy to let them do it. His sous chef duties involve supplying Cold Ones to the Chefs as required.

Soon the sweet aroma of success is wafting over from the BBQ area, and once the BBQ Maestros are happy that grilled  perfection has been reached, Lamb chops, sasuages, steaks, and bacon are plated up and bought over to join the rest of the dinner food.

Three hungry families have no trouble tucking in. BBQ success !  Is it the fresh air? is it the fact that meat is cooked outdoors?  the smokey aromas of the grill?…

….the adventure and skill of making sure that everything is cooked to a fine balance somewhere between raw and incinerated?  …or just the simple primeval pleasure of seeing the remnants of olive oil catching fire? or the sizzling sound of the fat that came out of the chops on the ironwork of the hotplate?

Who knows?

What is clear is that most men love cooking on a BBQ… Himself isn’t most men in this respect, but he has many other talents so this one lacking is not a problem.  Especially when the Kiwi reinforcements make such a darned good job.

Lamb chop anyone?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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