Local Heart, Global Soul

May 23, 2018

“People Probably Won’t Even Notice”… But They Do!

Regular readers of this blog know that I am always on the lookout for quirky things. Detail stands out like neon for me, I see it everywhere. There are thousands of functional items on a single city street, somewhere, somehow , sometimes, someone had the opportunity to make part of these functional items decorative. I’m fairly positive someone also uttered the phrase “I wonder why we bother? people will probably not even notice this” (the decoration).

Well Mr or Ms Designer: I notice! Even whilst I’m waiting in the Te Papa, parking area for Himself to pack the wheelchair into the car, standing with the crutches so that he can put them in last, I notice that the top of the bollards around me are decorated with Kiwi’s! I haven’t had the chance to see if there are more of these around the city of Wellington, but hey, this is brilliant. Just sneak tiny little pieces of detail into some of the thousands of pieces of functional items on city streets, and make (at least some) people smile.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 21, 2013

The Weather Is Glorious, But Kiwi Daughter Is Thunderous…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This page of my diary finds me in Bruges, Belgium and is a journal of our travels last summer.

We now walk for lunch and a well earned rest  to the Bruges  market square and Gementehuis  (City Hall). Again the area is thronged with tourists, horses and carriages plod by  regularly, but we are pleased to be here on a market day, so browse the stall under the deep shade canopies.

We find some steps to sit on in the shade with a bag of fresh cherries and strawberries and sit people watching as we eat.

Himself and Little Mr  went off earlier to do some other things and to catch an extra dip in the pool, Kiwi Daughter isn’t in a good mood after opting to stay with Velvetine and I at The Chocolate Line shop and then later wishing she’d opted for the pool option instead.

She’s got her nose out of joint that we won’t now take time out to walk to the other side of the central city to deliver her back to the hotel, and I’m annoyed because I want her to realise that once you make a decision you should live with the consequences and not expect everyone else to change their plans to accommodate your  change of heart. I also want her to accept that then turning on a tantrum and trying to ruin my day definitely isn’t the way to get me to change my mind either. Velveteen tries to talk sense to her and also fails, we try phoning Himself but he’s not at all pleased at the prospect of  dragging Little Mr away from his swim just to please Kiwi Daughter so he declines to come to us (and fair enough too, I totally agree with him).

It’s a physical impossibility for me to manage a back-and-forth to the hotel and back so Kiwi  Daughter will just have to suck it up on this occasion. She’s not doing that particularly well so this day is turning out to be not such an easy one. As a consequence the photos we took around the Bruges market square and Gementehuis  were a bit rushed. We were distracted and a little too tired and hungry. A rest was certainly in order and after some stern words, a few tears (mine and hers) and a good sit down, she and I calmed down and got ready to go where Velvetine and I wanted to go next.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 24, 2012

This Kiwi is Polishing Up on Her Knowledge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Lanolin  and tallow, necessary ingredients in shoe polish are  by-products of the wool and meat industries so neither New Zealand or Australia were ever  short of the stuff.

Dubbin was a waxy tallow based product that could soften and waterproof leather but didn’t leave a shine. In medieval times however shine wasn’t an issue, but by the 18th Century glossy shoes and boots became fashionable and so a variety of shoe polishes were developed, most of them using a base of  beeswax or lanolin, mixed with lampblack and were often called “blacking” or just went by the old name of dubbin.

In our home my parents  made a distinction between shoe polish and dubbin… we would polish our shoes with shoe polish (which usually added a brown or black colour as well) but when it came to waterproofing and softening our tramping (hiking) boots, we were always told to get the “dubbin”. From what I remember, there wasn’t any colour in dubbin but it had a very distinctive smell that was hard to get off your hands afterwards.

Wikipedia tells me:

The first shoe polish to resemble the modern varieties (aimed primarily at inducing shine) was Kiwi.

Scottish expatriates William Ramsay and Hamilton McKellan began making “boot polish” in a small factory in 1904 in Melbourne, Australia.

Their formula was a major improvement on previous brands. It preserved shoe leather, made it shine, and restored color. By the time Kiwi Dark Tan was released in 1908, it incorporated agents that added suppleness and water resistance.

Australian-made boot polish was then considered the world’s best. Black and a range of colors became available, and exports to Britain, continental Europe, and New Zealand began. Previously owned by the Sara Lee Corporation since 1984, Kiwi was sold in 2011 to SC Johnson.

Ramsay named the shoe polish after the kiwi, the national bird of New Zealand; Ramsay’s wife, Annie Elizabeth Meek Ramsay, was a native of Oamaru, New Zealand. It has been suggested that, at a time when several symbols were weakly associated with New Zealand, the eventual spread of Kiwi shoe polish around the world enhanced the Kiwi’s popular appeal and promoted it at the expense of the others.

So from this I learn the an Australian product became famous under a New Zealand symbol… should that maybe make it a national icon of both countries then?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Kiwi is the emblem of the famous shoe polish… this leads us nicely into discussion about New Zealand’s national bird,  an icon in it’s own right.

Wikipedia tells me:

Kiwi’s have the  genus name “Apteryx” which is derived from Ancient Greek meaning  without wings :(a-, “without” or “not” and pterux, “wing”)

Kiwi are flightless birds endemic to New Zealand, and are about the size of a domestic chicken. They are by far the smallest living ratites and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are five recognised species, two of which are currently vulnerable, one endangered, and one critically endangered. All species have been adversely affected by historic deforestation but currently large areas of their forest habitat are well protected in reserves and national parks. Kiwi are shy and usually nocturnal.  They prefer subtropical and temperate podocarp and beech forests, and have a highly developed sense of smell, unusual in a bird, and are the only birds with nostrils at the end of their long beaks.

Kiwi eat small invertebrates, seeds, grubs, and many varieties of worms. They also may eat fruit, small crayfish, eels and amphibians. Because their nostrils are located at the end of their long beaks, kiwi can locate insects and worms underground using their keen sense of smell, without actually seeing or feeling them. Once bonded, a male and female kiwi tend to live their entire lives as a monogamous couple.

During the mating season, June to March, the pair call to each other at night, and meet in the nesting burrow every three days. These relationships may last for up to 20 years. They are unique among other birds in that they have a functioning pair of ovaries. Kiwi eggs can weigh up to one quarter the weight of the female. Usually only one egg is laid per season. The kiwi lays the biggest egg in proportion to its size of any bird in the world. Eggs are smooth in texture, and are ivory or greenish white. The male incubates the egg, except for the Great Spotted Kiwi, A. haastii, in which both parents are involved.

The Māori language word kiwi (pronounced”kee-wee”) is generally accepted to be have originated from the sound of their call.
As a symbol the kiwi first appeared in the late 19th century in New Zealand regimental badges and during the First World War, the name “kiwi” for New Zealand soldiers came into general use, spread so that now all New Zealanders overseas and at home are commonly referred to as “kiwis”.
The New Zealand dollar is often referred to as “the kiwi dollar” and kiwi symbol is now famous around the world.

When I was looking for a pseudonym to blog under, it seemed logical to try and combine the New Zealand and Dutch sides of my life, Since “kiwi” is  totally recognisable as New Zealand side of me, the moniker “Kiwidutch” was an easy choice and one that fits perfectly!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 21, 2010

A step-by-step guide to Kiwi’s Real, Traditional Fish and Chip perfection…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We do have Fish and Chips in The Netherlands… but it’s definitely not the same sort of Fish and Chips that I grew up with in New Zealand.

The differences run deeper than just the varying fish varieties that are caught in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s, the batter is completely different in both texture and taste and the end result in The Netherlands is never the wonderful crunchy batter that I love about New Zealand Fish and Chips.

The chips are usually smaller too, more what I would call Kiwi “French Fries” here in the Netherlands and what the Dutch call “Belgium Patat”  for the New Zealand ones. ( i.e. large chunky pieces of potato sliced thickly, not thinly).

I miss my Kiwi Fish and Chips to death sometimes and every now and again get a hanking to make my own.

Over the years I’ve been tweaking my recipe each time to try and get maximum crunchiness out of the batter,  to find out the best way to size the  fish pieces for easy cooking,  and the best batter mix that sticks nicely to the fish and the best cooking method to get the batter to stay on the fish (and not end up in a crispy black lump on the bottom of my fryer) .

I have a very basic arrangement for my frying: a deep pan with oil, not a fancy electric fryer, if you have an electric one then just follow the instructions that come with it for best results.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ingredients, Chips:

potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick lengths.

oil for frying

salt for seasoning

vinegar for seasoning (optional)

tomato sauce (preferably “Watties”) (optional)

Friet sauce or mayonnaise (optional)

Batter for Fish:

300 ml beer (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 heaped tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon mild paprika powder

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

pinch salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Frying the Chips: (Do these before the fish)

Pat your raw, cut chips with a clean, dry teatowel/teacloth to absorb any starch, (the teatowel/ teacloth goes into the laundry after this job)

Heat your pan of oil so that it is up to temperature for frying. (place a small piece of potato in first to test it) bubbles should form quickly around the potato and you should see the oil “boiling” around the chip, if there is no movement immediately, then the oil isn’t hot enough yet.

DO take EXTREME care when deep frying with oil, any burns will be deep and painful and NEVER leave a pan of hot oil unattended,  (unattended fat fryer’s catching alight are a major case of house fires).

Fry your potatoes, in batches until they are golden brown and almost all the way though, when they get to this stage, remove from the heat and drain on paper towels to absorb the excess fat.Continue until you have done all the chips, they will be light brown and almost completely cooked.

Set the chips aside to finish after the fish is cooked. After the fish is cooked, pop the chips back into the fryer until they are cooked through ( 1-2 minutes), drain off the excess oil onto kitchen paper towels and serve immediately with the fish.

Frying the Fish:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(any beer will do…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whisk all the batter ingredients together until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

Cut the fish into small pieces, I cut my double fillets in half lengthwise, and then in half width-wise so that the pieces are fairly uniform in size and cook evenly. The pieces will be almost rectangular and a little longer than my index finger (and 2-3 times as wide)

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Take a piece of you fish fillet in your (clean) fingers, hold it by the thinnest end of the fish and dip it into the batter, letting about half of the excess drip off and then carefully, slide it thick end first into the hot oil.

I hang on to it VERY carefully for about 15-20 seconds with my fingers about 2-3 cm (just over an inch) away from the oil and then I gently let it drop. Do this slowly and you should not get splashed by the oil, and the fish will not stick to the bottom of the pan.

My deep fry-pan does come with a basket, and I use the basket when I’m frying the chips, but I personally prefer to remove the basket  when doing the fish and just very carefully slide the fish in. DO  make certain that there are no drips of water on your hands or the fish, if water comes in contact with the hot oil it will splatter enormously and you could get burnt.

Clearly this is  also NOT a recipe that you would consider making with any children close by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I find that I can get up to four small pieces of fish into my fryer at once.  If I try more they stick together and it all gets very messy very quickly.  I let them get quite brown so that even the thickest part of the inside fish is cooked though, and then I carefully lift them out with a metal slotted spoon, putting them onto some sheets of kitchen paper to blot off any excess oil .

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The batter should be wonderfully crisp and crunchy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have the batter pretty much as I want it now… from now on I will only be tweaking the seasonings a bit more, maybe some herbs?….  If I can make it even better, then I will post updates in the future.

Yum… Enjoy!

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